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Ron DeSantis adds to criticism of Pinellas Sheriff Gualtieri over ‘stand your ground’

Other Republicans and the NRA have also criticized Gualtieri for his decision not to arrest the shooter in Markeis McGlockton's killing in Clearwater.
Florida gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis talks with reporters after giving a campaign speech at the Tampa Waterside Marriott on Monday. Fox News conservative talk show host Sean Hannity campaigned for 2018 gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis during a stop in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Aug. 6, 2018

After a long silence, Congressman Ron DeSantis offered his take Monday on last month's shooting of Markeis McGlockton in Clearwater.

"Democrats like Andrew Gillum and Jeff Greene would impose a duty to retreat upon law-abiding Floridians, which would tip the scales in favor of criminals," read a statement sent by his campaign spokesman, David Vasquez, on behalf of DeSantis.

"I support the right of Floridians to defend themselves by standing their ground against aggressors. That said, it doesn't seem to me that the law is even applicable in the case of Markeis McGlockton, and I don't think the Pinellas County sheriff analyzed the law properly."

DeSantis's position was first reported by Politico.

His campaign originally did not respond to a request for comment following the July 19 shooting, while most of the Democrats running for governor called for revisions or a repeal of Florida's "stand your ground" law.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri has cited that state self-defense law as the reason why he cannot arrest McGlockton's shooter, Michael Drejka. Surveillance footage captured the moment Drejka shot McGlockton during a heated dispute over a handicap-reserved parking space. McGlockton died shortly thereafter.

The law gives immunity to those in fear of their lives who use force to defend themselves. Gualtieri has forwarded the case to the State Attorney's office to make a final decision, which is still pending.

Because McGlockton, 28, was black and Drejka, 47, is white, the case has also brought racial injustice — in addition to gun laws — to the fore of the Florida governor's race.

Some other Republicans and the National Rifle Association have also criticized Gualtieri's decision not to make an arrest, saying he misinterpreted the law.


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