OAKLAND PARK (CBSMiami) – The attorney for the family of a man shot and killed by a Broward Sheriff’s deputy is taking issue with the support that deputy received in court.
David Schoen, who represents the family of Jermaine McBean, sent out an email Wednesday demanding an apology from Broward Sheriff Scott Israel for the actions of his deputies who applauded and clapped for Deputy Peter Peraza who is charged with manslaughter in McBean’s death. The support came from Peraza’s fellow deputies organized by their union.
“There’s nothing happy about this event,” Schoen said. “There’s nothing to applaud.”
Schoen believes the reaction was unnecessary.
“It sends a tremendous message of lawlessness to see law enforcement officers – BSO deputies – communicating the message that that indictment ought to be ignored or rejected, because it charges one of their own,” Schoen said.
Schoen believes Sheriff Israel should apologize for the scene to distance himself and his agency from the message Schoen believes it sent.
“The sheriff has an obligation to send a message of law and order,” Schoen said.
Jeffery Bell is the president of the International Union of Police Associations, Local 6020, that represents Peraza and hundreds of other road patrol deputies. He said neither Israel nor BSO had anything to do with the support in court.
“This was an off-duty scheduled event,” Bell said. “The Sheriff’s Office did not ask for this to be taking place. We did this on our own.”
Peraza is accused of shooting McBean who was carrying an unloaded air rifle while walking home in Oakland Park from a pawn shop in 2013.
Witnesses said McBean never pointed the gun at anyone and couldn’t hear deputies because he had headphones on.
Peraza’s attorney, Eric Schwartzreich, disputes that and said Peraza was doing his job and reacted properly to a threat.
Bell said the union will continue to outwardly support Peraza at future court hearings.
“From a union point of view, we will always support our deputies,” Bell said. “We do support him and we will be with him every step of the way until he is vindicated from these charges.”
BSO Spokesperson Veda Coleman-Wright told CBS4’s that the deputies who attended the court hearing did so on their own time and they were supporting a co-worker. She said they brokeno BSO policy. She added that Israel has no plans to apologize.