FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida sheriff’s department has agreed to pay $2.5 million to the mother of a man who was fatally shot by a deputy in 2013 while carrying an air rifle that looked like a more powerful weapon, court records show.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy, Peter Peraza, was charged with manslaughter in the killing of 33-year-old Jermaine McBean, who was Black. Peraza is Hispanic.
A Broward judge, however, agreed that even as a law enforcement officer, Peraza could claim he felt threatened under Florida’s “stand your ground” self-defense law, which gives immunity from prosecution to people who use deadly force to protect themselves or others if they feel at risk of great bodily harm or death. That ruling was eventually upheld by the Florida Supreme Court over opposition from the sheriff’s office.
Witnesses said McBean drew attention by openly carrying the air rifle he had just purchased at a pawn shop along a busy street. Deputies were called and confronted McBean outside his Oakland Park apartment complex, which included a pool filled with children.