Sun | Sep 22, 2019

Florida man convicted of manslaughter for killing unarmed black man in dispute over parking space

Published:Saturday | August 24, 2019 | 10:30 AM
Michael Drejka (orange prison uniform) at his first court appearance. AP

A white man who told police investigators he had a “pet peeve” about illegal parking in handicapped spots was yesterday convicted of manslaughter for the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man outside a convenience store.

A six-member jury deliberated for six hours before convicting Michael Drejka, 49, for the July 19, 2018 death of Markeis McGlockton in the state of Florida, in the United States..

Drejka stared straight ahead as he was handcuffed and led out of the courtroom.

He faces up to 30 years in prison and was ordered held without bail until his sentencing in October.

Members of McGlockton’s family wept as the verdict was read and hugged and shook hands with prosecutors after court was adjourned.

“This conviction doesn’t bring our son back, but it does give us some sense of justice because far too often the criminal justice system fails us by allowing people who take the lives of unarmed Black people to walk free as though their lives meant nothing,” McGlockton’s mother, Monica Robinson, said in a statement.

“We are hopeful that this conviction will be a brick in the road to changing the culture of racism here in Florida.”

The verdict came about 30 minutes after jurors sent out a note saying they were confused by the state’s controversial stand-your-ground law.

Circuit Judge Joseph Bulone told them all he could do is reread it for them.

The law says a shooting is justified if a reasonable person under those circumstances would believe they are in danger of death or great bodily harm.

It also says the shooter should not instigate the altercation.

Theresa Jean-Pierre Coy, one of Drejka’s attorneys, told reporters she respected the verdict, but said her team would likely file an appeal.

She expressed her condolences to the McGlockton family and said that while she was disappointed in the verdict, she was “happy they received the justice they were seeking.”

Prosecutors led evidence that Drejka confronted McGlockton’s girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, for parking in a handicapped space while her spouse went inside a convenience store with his 5-year-old son.

Security video recorded McGlockton leaving the store and shoving Drejka to the ground.

Seconds later, Drejka pulled out a handgun and shot McGlockton, 28, as he backed away.

McGlockton ran inside the store, where he collapsed and died in front of his son.

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