FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Black Lives Matter Alliance Broward praises the grand jury and the office of the Broward State Attorney for their roles in bringing an indictment against Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Peter Peraza for the shooting death of Jermaine McBean on July 31, 2013. The indictment was announced this morning.
The indictment charges Peraza with First Degree Felony Manslaughter, a charge with the potential for a 30-year prison term.
While we await more detail, our understanding is that Peraza was allowed to self-surrender to authorities at 9am this morning and is being held on a $25,000 bond.
Attorney David Schoen is representing McBean’s mother, Jennifer Young, in a forthcoming civil suit. Reached by phone, Schoen stated, “Today is a a great day for the grand jury system. Jermaine McBean was killed in cold blood by a BSO deputy.” This is the first indictment of a law enforcement officer for a fatal civilian shooting in Broward County in 35 years.
According to Schoen, the bond amount was high for a case involving an officer-involved shooting.
While Schoen expressed disappointment that the grand jury didn’t charge Peraza–or his superior, Lieutenant Richard LaCerra, who was at the scene–with obstruction of justice, he noted that a U.S Department of Justice investigation is ongoing and could result in federal charges.
The obstruction of justice pertains to what appeared to be a clear cut case of falsifying evidence. Both officers denied to investigators that McBean was wearing headphones, but a photo released 7 months ago clearly shows McBean lying on the ground after the shooting with earbuds in his ears. This is significant because the earbuds would have kept McBean from hearing the officers’ orders to drop what we now know to have been an unloaded air gun that McBean was carrying on his shoulders.
While Black Lives Matter Alliance Broward unequivocally stands with the grand jury’s decision today, we will not be satisfied until BSO Deputy Peraza is convicted on the charge.
We also condemn Broward Sheriff Scott Israel for his failure to rescind the Gold Cross Awards for bravery that were given to Peraza and LaCerra a few months after the shooting and before BSO’s investigation into the shooting was complete. We also condemn Sheriff Scott Israel for his failure to place the officers on administrative leave for their clear cut obstruction of justice, something we have been demanding. It is shameful that it took a grand jury indictment to get Peraza off the street.
According to Schoen, a press conference concerning the case will be announced shortly but will likely take place at Broward County Courthouse this coming Monday, December 14, with the time to be determined.
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