ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri has a message for the Rev. Al Sharpton: Go home.
During a press conference about an unrelated investigation this morning, Sheriff Gualtieri took questions from the media, including a few on Sunday’s ‘Justice for Markeis McGlockton Rally’ hosted by Sharpton.
Sharpton criticized the sheriff's office for not immediately making an arrest in the incident, which left Markeis McGlockton dead in a Clearwater parking lot.
The shooter, Michael Drejka, told deputies he feared for his life. Because of that, Gualtieri chose not to arrest Drejka, saying the state’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law applies in this case.
Sunday, Sharpton called out Gualtieri, saying lock Drejka up, or give up your badge.
The sheriff responded Monday.
"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,” the sheriff said. “Go back to New York; mind your own business.”
To the suggestion that Sharpton go back to New York, his camp told the Tampa Bay Times Monday Gualtieri's comments are like "those of sheriffs out of the 1960's that called civil rights leaders invited by victims 'outside agitators.'"
"This case should not be tried in a parking lot of a convenience store," Sharpton said at Sunday's rally. "It should be tried in a courtroom."
Sharpton promises to keep coming back to Clearwater until charges are filed, which is now up to the state attorney. Some are now left to wonder, will the public attention make a difference in what State Attorney Bernie McCabe decides?
"When a prosecutor looks at this case, they're not looking at it as to whether it will be popular," said lawyer and legal analyst Anthony Rickman. "It's whether or not they can prove this charge."
Rickman argues prosecutors would need to believe they could prove clearly and convincingly this is not a case where Stand Your Ground would apply.
Rickman says that's an even higher burden than the sheriff has already said he couldn't meet to charge Drejka.
"They're going to take their time," said Rickman. "They will base their decision on the facts, the evidence, the video, and more importantly the law."
The sheriff wouldn't comment any further about the rally, but when asked about the five Democratic candidates for governor attending Sunday’s event, he said, they're politicking.
“The facts and the law matter,” he added. “Learn the facts and learn the law, and then you can opine.”
On Monday, GOP gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis joined the Democratic candidates in saying he did not believe the sheriff was appropriately applying the law.
However, unlike several of the Democratic candidates, he does not want the law to be repealed.