Judge Clears Police Officer Involved in Lethal Shooting Under Stand Your Ground Law
Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law has once again taken center stage in a high-profile shooting.
Jermaine McBean was shot to death in Oakland Park by Deputy Sheriff Peter Peraza of Broward County in July 2013 because McBean was allegedly pointing what turned out to be an unloaded air rifle at police. A grand jury initially indicted Peraza for manslaughter, but Wednesday Broward Circuit Judge Michael Usan dismissed that charge.
Peraza's attorney, Eric Schwartzreich,invoked Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law as justification for the shooting. Schwartzreich said the ruling confirms that Stand Your Ground extends to anyone who becomes a defendant in a shooting case.
“This ruling should give every member of law enforcement some breathing room that they can go out there and do their jobs in justified shootings," he says.
This was the first time the law was used successfully to defend an on-duty police officer.
Jesse Cosme, an activist with Black Lives Matter Alliance Broward and part of the Justice For Jermaine campaign, said the judge has set a dangerous precedent for prosecuting police.
“In the Stand Your Ground ruling, he’s made it almost impossible for an officer to be convicted in the state of Florida," he said.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel issued a statement Wednesday offering his condolences to the McBean family, although the statement did not directly comment on the judge’s decision.
The Broward state attorney’s office said it will be appealing the judge’s decision within 15 days of the ruling.