CLEARWATER, Fla. (FOX 13) - A jury has been seated to hear the case of the shove and the shot seen around the nation.
Wednesday, the eyes of the country will be on Pinellas County for opening arguments in the manslaughter trial of Michael Drejka. He claims he shot Markeis McGlockton in self-defense after a fight over a handicapped parking spot.
The prospective jurors took questions about race, guns, and self-defense - themes that make this one of the Bay Area’s most-watched cases in years. Lawyers on both sides insisted on second and third looks at potential jurors.
"Does anyone have any opinions about anyone who legally carries firearms?" potential jurors were asked Tuesday.
Five men, one woman and, notably, no African Americans were chosen to decide the case, which was cast with racial overtones soon after Drejka, a Caucasian man, shot McGlockton, who was African American.
Surveillance video captured the shooting in the parking lot of a Clearwater convenience store last year. The footage shows Drejka confronting McGlockton's girlfriend about parking in a handicapped spot. When McGlockton - who was inside the store - got word of the argument, he came outside and shoved Drejka to the ground. Drejka then pulled out his gun and shot McGlockton.
Drejka claims he shot in self-defense, saying he feared what McGlockton would do next. However, prosecutors say the video shows McGlockton was retreating when Drejka shot him.
Rallies and protests followed the shooting, with community members and public figures calling into question the Pinellas County sheriff's decision not to charge Drejka. Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said because Drejka claimed he was defending himself, the state attorney would have to decide if Drejka had immunity under Florida's stand your ground law.
Sen. Bill Nelson, then Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, and civil rights activist and MSNBC host Al Sharpton joined those who disputed Drejka's claim of self-defense. Sharpton even attended a rally in Clearwater shortly after the shooting.
Legal analyst Jeff Brown says opening arguments and expects prosecutors to highlight Drejka responding to a push with a gunshot.
"Tomorrow you are going to argue he was in fear for his life,” Brown said of the defense. "It comes down to jury selection, it will be a juror whose opinion will basically be, ‘If you push me on the ground, I'm going to shoot you.’"
Brown also says the case may come down to only one factor, and it’s not race. It’s the video.
"You have an unarmed victim, yes he pushed him, but I think the video speaks for itself," Brown said.
Opening arguments start Wednesday morning.