NAACP calls on DOJ to investigate Clearwater 'Stand Your Ground' case - Florida Politics

NAACP calls on DOJ to investigate Clearwater ‘Stand Your Ground’ case

The Clearwater branch of the NAACP on Tuesday repeated its call for an arrest in the recent fatal shooting of Markeis McGlockton and said that it has also sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice asking for an investigation.

The statement from Clearwater/Upper Pinellas County NAACP chair Marva McWhite came after the group skipped out on a planned meeting with Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, who has said his hands were tied when it came to arresting the shooter due to a 2017 change in the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law.

Stand Your Ground” eliminated a citizen’s duty to retreat before resorting to the use of deadly force. A 2017 amendment to the National Rifle Association-backed law requires prosecutors to prove a shooter did not feel threatened before an arrest can be made or criminal charges can be filed.

McGlockton was shot outside of a convenience two weeks ago after intervening in an argument between his girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, and Michael Drejka. McGlockton pushed Drejka to the ground and Drejka pulled out a handgun and shot McGlockton in the chest.

Security camera footage from the convenience store appears to show McGlockton backing away from Drejka after he drew his weapon. That footage, combined with Drejka not being arrested for the shooting, has led to renewed calls for a “Stand Your Ground” repeal from Democratic politicians.

In her statement, McWhite said her branch of the NAACP “has no intentions of standing with the sheriff on this issue. We have from the onset called for an arrest, we have never wavered, and we will continue to demand justice.”

McWhite said the group was “encouraged” by statements made by NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer and Republican Rep. Bobby Payne in a recent POLITICO Florida article. Payne, who sponsored the 2017 amendment in the House, said after watching the video that “the assertion of Stand Your Ground was weak, based on the victim’s retreat or de-escalation of the event once he saw the gun.”

McWhite added that since Gualtieri said “the bus had left his station” when it came to arresting Drejka, “the next stop (State Attorney [Bernie] McCabe’s office) would have to address this issue. We agreed that the sheriff should let the community know that the buck did not stop with his refusal to arrest Mr. Drejka.”

“I reiterate,” McWhite wrote. “We have from the onset called for an arrest, we have never wavered, and we will continue to demand justice. We stand in solidarity in calling for an arrest.”

The organization’s additional call for an investigation by the DOJ echoes a Friday request from U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson that was also signed by U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California, and U.S. Reps. Charlie Crist and Alcee Hastings of Florida.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is running in the Democratic primary for Governor, has also called on Gov. Rick Scott, who is running against Nelson for the U.S. Senate, to declare a state of emergency and suspend the state’s “stand your ground” law by executive order.

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.
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