A Florida sheriff on Monday suggested Rev. Al Sharpton either keep quiet, go away or do both.
On Sunday, Sharpton criticized Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri during a rally for a man killed on July 19 in a case that has riveted attention on Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law.
On that day, Markeis McGlockton, who is black, was shot by Michael Drejka, who is white, in Clearwater. Drejka told police he feared for his life, and police did not arrest him.
“The law in the state of Florida today is that people have the right to stand their ground, and have a right to defend themselves when they believe they are in harm,” Gualtieri said, WTSP reported.
But on Sunday, the New York City-based Sharpton appeared in Clearwater to attack Gualtieri’s actions.
“This case should not be tried in a parking lot of a convenience store,” Sharpton said, according to WTVT. “It should be tried in a courtroom.”
“Lock him (Drejka) up or turn in your badge,” Sharpton said in a direct challenge to Gualtieri.
Gualtieri fired back on Monday when asked about Sharpton’s comments.
“It’s a bunch of rhetoric. I don’t pay much attention to it, to tell you the truth. I wasn’t there, and I don’t really care what Al Sharpton has to say,” Gualtieri said.
He then shared his message for Sharpton. “Go back to New York. Mind your own business,” he said.
A Sharpton spokesman likened Gualtieri’s comments to “those of sheriffs out of the 1960s that used to call civil rights leaders invited in by victims, ‘outside agitators,’” according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Sharpton said he will return to Clearwater.
Gualtieri said he was tuning out comments about the shooting that have emerged in the election for Florida’s governor.
“It’s called politics and they’re politicking. The facts and the law matter. Learn the facts and learn the law and then you can opine, but until you learn the facts and learn the law… but then again in politics, that’s what you’re going to get,” Gualtieri said, WFLA reported.
Florida prosecutors said last week they will review the case.
“When a prosecutor looks at this case, they’re not looking at it as to whether it will be popular,” lawyer and legal analyst Anthony Rickman said. “It’s whether or not they can prove this charge.”
UPDATE: Michael Drejka was arrested on Aug. 13 on manslaughter charges related to this shooting, according to Fox News.
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