WEST PALM BEACH (CBSMiami) — An appeals court is deciding whether Florida’s “stand your grand” law was applied correctly in the case against a Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy.
The 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach heard arguments Tuesday in the case of suspended BSO Deputy Peter Peraza.
A judge dismissed a manslaughter Charge against Peraza in the death of Jermaine McBean.
McBean was carrying an unloaded air rifle into his Oakland Park apartment complex back in 2013 when Deputy Peraza shot and killed him
“My client was defending himself. When you are a police officer, you get the same protection as everyone else and stand your ground applies,” said defense attorney Eric Schwartzreich.
But prosecutors say stand your ground wasn’t meant to apply to police officers. They want Peraza to go to trial and have a jury decide whether he is guilty or innocent.
“He was a good person. I’m going to keep fighting,” said Jennifer Young, McBean’s mother who attended the hearing.
McBean, who was a computer engineer, suffered from bi-polar disease and was taking medication. His family believes he bought the air rifle on a whim on that fateful day.
His family said he was wearing earbuds listening to music, and likely never heard the commands to drop his air rifle.
Deputy Peraza said he feared for his life when he opened fire.
McBean’s family maintains he never pointed the air gun at anyone.
“You don’t shoot unless someone is pointing at you and it didn’t happen” said Young.
It will take several weeks for the court to make a decision.
Deputy Peraza is currently suspended with pay, but Schwartzreich said they are working to get him back on the streets as an active BSO deputy.