A group of protesters filled the intersection of Haines Road North and 38th Avenue North in St. Petersburg on Sunday afternoon, many of them holding signs demanding justice for Markeis McGlockton and calling for the repeal of the Stand Your Ground law.
The rally is a direct response to the shooting death of 28-year-old McGlockton.
McGlockton was shot and killed July 19 after a fight over a handicap parking spot. The shooter, Michael Drejka, is not facing charges due to Stand Your Ground, which allows Florida residents to use deadly force without retreating to protect themselves against a perceived threat.
The group wanted to “take over the intersection” to send a bold statement to the community, that they feel things can’t continue as usual.
“We wanted to disrupt life as usual, because this law is disrupting communities of color,” said Pastor Andy Oliver of Allendale United Methodist Church.
As the protest continued on, tensions grew as drivers became frustrated they were unable to move through the intersection. Drivers blew their horns, screamed out their windows and some even tried to drive right through the protest.
Police eventually came out to move the rally to the sidewalk, as it was illegal for them to block traffic.
Organizers say it was a bold act meant to inspire bold change.
“I am going to put it bluntly – what you were doing was illegal,” News Channel 8 reporter Amanda Ciavarri told Pastor Oliver. “Why choose that method?”
“God calls us to show radical hospitality to people who are experiencing harm, and this was a form of civil disobedience, much in the same form as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr,” he answered. “When they marched across that bridge in Selma – that was also illegal, but there are times in our history and times in our lives today where we have to pull up the courage to show just how wrong and harmful unjust laws are.”
PLEASE NOTE: The following is video of a tense situation that was live and developing. You may see and hear inappropriate language*