In most states parking in a handicapped spot without a permit will earn you a hefty fine. In the state of Florida, it can be a death sentence.
While making a quick stop at a convenience store, Markeis McGlockton parked in a handicapped spot, leaving his girlfriend and three kids in the car. That's when a man named Michael Drejka who had been waiting in the parking lot took it upon himself to confront Markeis' girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, about using the spot. Markeis noticed the man screaming at Britany, so he ran out of the store to confront the man. He pushed Drejka away and then backed away towards the car himself.
Unfortunately, Drejka didn't stop there. At that point, he pulled out a gun and — in front of Jacobs and her three children — shot Markeis in the chest. Markeis died shortly after.
And now it looks as if Drejka won't face any charges — all because Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri decided to invoke Florida's problematic "stand your ground" law.
Stand your ground gives citizens the right to use deadly force "if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself." Sadly, the law is easily abused, as in this case.
Drejka wasn't in imminent danger. He had been pushed to the ground by a man defending his family from vicious attacks, at which point the man retreated. Markeis went to tend to his family, he didn't continue to attack.
Stand your ground laws are supposed to make citizens safer by deterring would-be criminals from attacking innocent people who might stand and fight rather than flee. In reality, according to several studies, these laws have increased homicides rather than reduce them. What's worse, violent, culpable men like Drejka often get off scot-free when they are allowed to use self-defense when really it was nothing but cold-blooded murder.
These laws are dangerous and protect murderers — and they must be repealed. Sign the petition and demand that Florida repeal their stand your ground law!