OAKLAND PARK (CBSMiami) — The family of a man shot and killed by a Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy is relieved by a grand jury’s decision to charge the deputy with manslaughter.
And they have other demands as the case moves forward in court.
Time has not healed the emotional wounds this family says they’ve suffered when a BSO deputy shot and killed their son and brother, Fort Lauderdale computer engineer Jermaine McBean.
“Every time I think of my son, I break up. We all do, because he was a good person. He was a wonderful man, he was my right arm,” said McBean’s mother Jennifer Young, while her voice quivered.
Young is grateful a grand jury is propelling forward the case against the deputy.
Young told CBS4’s Natalia Zea what she thought during the moment she learned of the indictment. “Thank God. Thank you Jesus for making them see the injustice that’s been done to my son,” she said.
Deputy Peter Peraza shot McBean as he carried an unloaded air rifle in his Oakland Park neighborhood, heading home from the pawn shop where he bought it. The deputies said Peraza shot him when he ignored their commands to drop the gun. And at the scene, back in 2013, Sheriff Scott Israel said he pointed it at them.
“The subject turned toward one of our deputies, and pointed the air rifle,” Israel had said.
McBean’s family attorney David Schoen says witness statements disprove that.
“Not one other person has ever said he pointed this air gun at anyone,” said Schoen.
“Why do you think he put it on his shoulder, with both hands on either side?” questioned Young.
Deputy Peraza’s attorney Eric Schwartzreich says his client perceived a threat and says the law is on his side.
“He has told the truth from the beginning to the end of this case and I am confident he is going to be cleared,” said Schwartzreich.
Broward civil rights activists held protests over McBean’s death and consider the indictment of the deputy a victory — the first such indictment of a Florida law enforcement officer in 26 years.
Justin Cosme of the Black Lives Matter Alliance of Broward says change is coming, and is necessary.
“Young black men and women in this country leave their homes each morning, not knowing whether they’ll be able to return home,” said Cosme.
The McBean family filed a federal lawsuit not only against Deputy Peraza but also against Sheriff Israel, BSO and the two other deputies on the scene who did not shoot McBean.
The family alleges they all engaged in a cover-up to hide the fact that McBean had earbuds in his ears and could not hear the deputies commands to drop the air rifle.