Black Lives Matter Alliance Broward is planning a protest this morning to "highlight systemic police and prosecutorial failures as witnessed in their handling of the shooting of Jermaine McBean." According to a news release, the group says it plans a dramatization of the shooting and spoken word related to police state violence in the McBean case in downtown Fort Lauderdale at 11:30 a.m.
"While it was reported earlier today that Palm Beach Gardens Police Officer Nouman Raja, who killed Corey Jones in the wee hours of October 18, has been fired, the BSO officers involved in the killing and cover-up in the case of Jermaine McBean over two years ago have not only not been disciplined but they received awards for bravery for killing a man armed with nothing but a BB gun. Neither have lost a day of work related to this incident," a statement from the group reads.
Two years ago, McBean, a 33-year-old black man, was spotted walking along the highway with an unloaded air rifle by BSO Deputy. Peter Peraza, a 12-year BSO veteran, says he spotted McBean walk into the Green Tree Apartments complex at 5201 N. Dixie Highway.
McBean then walked over to the pool area, which was empty. According to the BSO, Peraza ordered McBean to drop his gun several times but was ignored. McBean then pointed the gun toward Peraza, who immediately opened fire. McBean was taken to Broward Health Medical Center, where he died from his wounds, according to sheriff's officials.
But McBean's shooting death had some inconsistencies. A photograph of McBean lying on the ground showed that he had been wearing earbuds — something his family said he'd always wear when he'd go out for walks. Moreover, a man who had called 911 after spotting McBean walking around with the air rifle said he never pointed the rifle at the officer or at anyone else. The witness later told the media that there was no way McBean could have fired the rifle from the position he was in. All this information contradicted BSO's version of events, and McBean's family filed a wrongful-death and misconduct lawsuit against BSO.
Even as the investigation remained open, Peraza was awarded the Gold Cross award for remaining “brave and dedicated to duty in the face of grave danger” during the McBean incident.
Earlier this year, a civil rights attorney representing the McBean family, David Schoen, told NBC News that the photo of McBean with the headphones is evidence of a "cover-up." The report also says a nurse who was on the scene pointed out the earbuds to police but was ignored and turned away when she offered to aid McBean as he lay shot.
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Peraza told BSO investigators he did not see anything in McBean's ears. NBC News also reported that the homicide detective who led an internal review told McBean's family that officers on the scene said the man was not wearing an earpiece. The BSO detective said the earbuds were found in McBean's pocket at the hospital.
Last month, Schoen told New Times that McBean's death will mark the 169th time that State Attorney Michael Satz has not charged an officer involved in a fatal shooting with a crime since 1980. “The history of civilian deaths at the hand of law enforcement officers in Broward County without a single indictment or even disciplinary action in over 30 years is tremendously alarming and demands independent oversight,” Schoen said at the time.
A hearing on the admissibility of evidence in the McBean family lawsuit against Broward Sheriff Scott Israel and BSO will take place Friday morning as well. The hearing is separate from the state’s grand jury hearing, which is scheduled to begin December 2.
"Sheriff Scott Israel’s failure is in not disciplining officers who clearly lied to investigators about Jermaine’s ability to hear their orders as they approached him from behind and in rewarding these officers for bravery before his own department’s investigation was even completed," the Black Lives Matter release says. "The Sheriff also has rejected demands that the awards be rescinded, though he’s admitted that giving them was a mistake."