If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million:
According to trial attorneys Blake & Dorsten, P.A., Michael Drejka was within his rights under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law to shoot Markeis McGlockton:
The “Stand Your Ground” Law introduced two (2) conclusive presumptions that favor a criminal defendant who is making a self-defense claim: (1) The presumption that the defendant had a reasonable fear that deadly force was necessary; and (2) The presumption that the intruder intended to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence.
These two presumptions protect the defender from both civil and criminal prosecution for unlawful use of deadly or non-deadly force in self-defense. In addition, the defender/gun owner has no duty to retreat, regardless of where he is attacked, so long as he is in a place where he is lawfully entitled to be when the danger occurs.
But let’s take a look at the applicable Florida State Law itself:
A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity, and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony. F.S. §776.013(3)
Having been forcefully knocked knocked to the ground, Drejka had every reason to believe that Markeis would cause him further harm, right up to the point where Markeis began backing off at the sight of Drejka’s drawn firearm. At that moment, the situation changed, and Drejka pulled the trigger as Markeis was retreating.
This element — Markeis’ retreat at the sight of Drejka’s weapon — removed “reasonable belief it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another.”
Shooting any human being who is retreating is not permissible under the law. It doesn’t matter whether they’ve turned and are at a dead run or they’re still facing you while backing off slowly.
Contrast this shooting with the Kajieme Powell shooting in St. Louis, where the perpetrator continued to advance after guns were drawn.
Even so, expecting your average citizen to be able to make this assessment and follow the technically correct course of action in the heat of the moment is not reasonable. Therefore, I find the decision made by Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri to not charge Drejka to be the right decision.
The key takeaway here is Markeis should never have walked up to Drejka and knocked him to the ground. That’s a felony.