A Democratic contender for governor called for a state of emergency in Florida and suspension of the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law until the legislature provides clear guidelines on how and when the controversial measure should be applied.
Tallahassee Mayor and Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum made his appeal just days after the most recent deadly use of the law saw a black man shot and killed several days ago in an altercation over a parking space.
“The consequence of confusion over how ‘Stand Your Ground’ is applied in this state can result in the loss of life of otherwise innocent people,” Gillum said at a press conference.
“It is in fact an emergency in the state of Florida when parents have to be concerned about their children or themselves being gunned down under the color of the law of ‘stand your ground.’ ”
There is chaos & confusion over “Stand Your Ground” here in Florida. Today I’m calling on Governor Rick Scott to declare a State of Emergency over this law, which is being used by vigilantes to turn themselves into judge, jury and executioner.
— Andrew Gillum (@AndrewGillum) July 30, 2018
Gillum, who would become the state’s first black governor if elected, has called for the law to be repealed.
“We all know that Stand Your Ground is not colorblind. If we’re going to talk about it, we’re going to have to talk about it fully,” Gillum said at a town hall Sunday in Clearwater, Florida.
“We all know that based on the color of my skin I present a certain threat. A certain level of threat that might cause someone to have the power to snuff out my life or my children’s lives,” he continued.
“That is unacceptable. It’s unacceptable in this state, it’s unacceptable in this country, it’s unacceptable in civilized society and the law has to be repealed.”
Clearwater was where 28-year-old Markeis McGlockton was shot dead in front of his five-year-old son and girlfriend on July 19. McGlockton was unarmed.
The shooter, 47-year-old Michael Drejka, will not face charges due to the state’s Stand Your Ground law. McGlockton was black and Drejka is white, but officials have not said what role, if any, race played in their altercation.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri announced the decision not to prosecute McGlockton during a news conference on Friday:
“I don’t make the law. I enforce the law. The law in the state of Florida today is that people have a right to stand their ground and have a right to defend themselves when they believe that they are in harm.”
According to the sheriff’s office, McGlockton’s girlfriend was parked in a handicapped spot on July 19 when she was approached by Drejka. According to witnesses, McGlockton exited the store and walked over to Drejka who was still arguing with Jacobs in the parking lot.
Afterwards, witnesses say McGlockton pushed Drejka, causing him to fall to the ground. Drejka was on the ground when he took out a handgun and fired a single round at McGlockton striking him in the chest, according to witnesses.
States with Stand Your Ground laws are reported to have higher homicide rates, according to multiple studies.
Stand Your Ground gained notoriety after George Zimmerman shot and killed unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February 2012. The law was cited in Zimmerman’s defense during the trial that resulted in his acquittal.