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Jury selection began Monday in the manslaughter trial against a white man who shot a black man in a dispute over a handicapped parking space in Florida.
Michael Drejka fatally shot Markeis McGlockton, 28, outside of a Clearwater convenience store on July 19, 2018.
Drejka had approached McGlockton’s car to see if it had the correct decal for a handicapped space and subsequently got in an argument with McGlockton’s girlfriend who was in the car with two of their children. When McGlockton came out of the store and saw what was going on, he shoved Drejka to the ground, surveillance footage showed.
Markeis McGlockton.Courtesy of Britany Jacobs / WFLA
Drejka then pulled out his gun and shot McGlockton, the footage showed.
McGlockton’s autopsy results revealed the bullet traveled at a slightly upward angle, which is consistent with the video that appeared to show him backing up and turning away from Drejka when he was shot. Officials said McGlockton was unarmed.
Drejka, who has a concealed weapons license, was initially not arrested due to Florida’s “stand your ground” law. Nearly a month later though, local prosecutors charged Drejka with manslaughter following protests.
Michael Drejka makes his first appearance at the Pinellas Courthouse in Clearwater, Fla., from the county jail via video, facing manslaughter charges for the shooting death of Markeis McGlockton, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018.Jim Damaske / AP file
In 2005, Florida became the first state to enact a “stand your ground” law, which states a citizen facing a threat or perceived threat does not have a duty to flee the scene and can use deadly force if they fear they face bodily harm.
But Drejka’s attorneys have since said they won’t be using “stand your ground” during the trial, but instead will argue self-defense, according to NBC affiliate WFLA. They are expected to call a self-defense witness to testify.
Drejka is free on $100,000 bond. He faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.