WEST PALM BEACH (CBSMiami) — A deputy, previously charged with manslaughter, could soon be back on patrol.
This after an appeals court upheld the dismissal of a manslaughter charge against BSO Deputy Peter Peraza for shooting and killing Jermaine McBean who was holding an air rifle.
The court had been trying to decide whether Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law was applied correctly in the case.
“As far as Deputy Peraza is concerned, based upon my review of the opinion, it’s game over for him. In other words, I believe that he’s prevailed,” said Peraza’s attorney Eric Schwartzreich.
Investigators say McBean, was carrying an unloaded air rifle into his Oakland Park apartment complex back in 2013 when Deputy Peraza shot and killed him.
Peraza’s attorney said his client was trying to defend himself when he shot at McBean and that stand your ground applies since he gets the same protection as everyone else.
“Deputy Peraza should have never been charged and the men and women that wear the uniform need to know that based upon this ruling they can go out there and keep our community safe and do their job,” said Schwartzreich.
“A law enforcement officer is a person as defined in the stand your ground statue. As a result of that, law enforcement officers are allowed to defend themselves,” said well-known South Florida attorney David Weinstein.
Prosecutors argued that stand your ground wasn’t meant to apply to police officers.
The attorney for the McBean family said they are devastated and still want a jury to decide whether he’s guilty or innocent.
“The family has been sad since day one. All they’ve wanted in this case is for Peraza to have a day in court before a jury in which a jury can hear all of the evidence for and against him,” said McBean’s family attorney David Schoen. “Whatever the cause was for what he did that day, he took a life unlawfully.”
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.
“Their job is to protect the citizens and you don’t shoot someone before he’s really, actually pointing it at you which didn’t happen,” said McBean’s mother Jennifer Young.
The appeals court also wants Florida’s Supreme Court to determine if cops can use stand your ground defense.