Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualteri on Tuesday doubled down on his decision not to arrest Michael Drejka because of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. Last week, Gualteri announced that he would not be filing charges against Drejka, a white man who fatally shot Markeis McGlockton, a black man, outside of a convenience store after starting an argument with McGlockton’s girlfriend over a handicap parking space. The shooting was captured on surveillance video—and appeared to show McGlockton backing away from Drejka after shoving him to the ground—but Gualteri insisted the video doesn’t convey all the facts, as it was taken at a high angle. Gualteri did not tell reporters specifically what witnesses told police, but said Drejka did not make threats during his confrontation with McGlockton’s girlfriend, Brittany Jacobs. The sheriff reiterated that because he believes the case is “arguably” within the parameters of Stand Your Ground, he cannot make an arrest. He conceded that Drejka “stuck his nose where it didn’t belong,” while saying that McGlockton should not have shoved him so hard. Gualteri said he will soon be referring the case to the state attorney’s office, which will decide whether to charge Drejka. Tuesday’s conference was supposed to be held in conjunction with a local NAACP chapter, but Gualteri said the group pulled out that morning.
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