Nearly a year after a Florida man charged with manslaughter in the fatal shooting of an unarmed Black man over the latter’s use of an accessible parking space said he wouldn’t change how things happened, the alleged victim’s girlfriend is speaking out.
Britany Jacobs recalled what happened between her 28-year-old boyfriend Markeis McGlockton and Michael Drejka during a trial that is expected to last two or three weeks, NBC News reported.
Jacobs explained she pulled into an accessible parking space outside a Clearwater, Florida, convenience store so her boyfriend could grab snacks for their children. Once McGlockton exited the vehicle, Jacobs, who was pregnant at the time, saw a man circling the car. She cracked her window and she and Drejka began arguing when he questioned Jacobs for parking there when other spaces were available.
“I was scared,” she said according to the Tampa Bay Times. “I didn’t know who this strange, suspicious man was.”
“I just wanted this man to leave me alone,” NBC News reported she said of the incident in which her and McGlockton’s two children were present. “Leave me and my babies alone.”
The 26-year-old said she asked Drejka, “Do you want me to get my man?” as a scare tactic but he didn’t budge and Drejka told her she ought to get her boyfriend as they continued to argue.
“It was loud,” Jacobs said. “Everybody was noticing at the time.”
Surveillance footage captured McGlockton, who went inside the store with the couple’s oldest child, coming outside the convenience store and immediately pushing Drejka and shoving him to the ground after yelling, “Get away from my girl,” according to Jacob’s testimony.
Afterward, footage showed Drejka pulled out a handgun from his pocket and opened fire while McGlockton backed away. Police said Drejka shot McGlockton in the chest and McGlockton ran back inside the store, falling in front of the couple’s 5-year-old son.
Jacobs said her boyfriend “was fighting for his life.”
In an interview with WTSP last fall, Drejka explained he felt he was going to be the victim of a sneak attack.
“It felt like I was tackled or someone hit me from behind with something. I left my feet, slid along the ground, before I was able to — yes, I was stunned, yeah,” Drejka said. “I didn’t know what was coming for me and there’s only one way to look at that. You have to be scared for it, ’cause if you’re not, you’re wrong, you’re wrong. And that’s that.”
The trial is set to determine whether Drejka, who was not arrested immediately after the incident after authorities entreated the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law, was sensible when responding to the McGlockton with deadly force.
McGlockton was simply defending his family, according to prosecutor Fred Schaub’s explanation to the jury.
“McGlockton did not have a weapon,” Schaub said. “You’ll hear testimony from the medical examiner that shows McGlockton was shot in the side. He was turning when he got shot.”
Meanwhile, Drejka’s attorney Bryant Camareno claimed McGlockton’s body “was the weapon” citing his 190-pound muscular build.
Lawyers for Drejka, who was charged with manslaughter a month after the deadly incident, previously said they won’t use the “stand your ground” defense but will instead use self-defense in their arguments.