I am so utterly disgusted with the prosecution of this case. If you thought Deputy Peraza was innocent before, wait until you hear about the Motion to Compel Mental Health Records filed by his attorney, Eric Schwartzreich, yesterday. It is public record and you can read it for yourself from the Clerk’s website, just like I did.
According to the motion, Jermaine McBean, the man who unfortunately lost his life in this incident, was suffering from a major mental health breakdown on the day of the shooting. In fact, family members told the New York Times and NBC News that McBean had a history for mental illness and was hospitalized a few days before the shooting because he stopped taking his medication.
The motion also describes McBean’s mental breakdown at work SIX DAYS before the shooting. During this work event, paramedics were called out and McBean was taken to the hospital for emergency psychiatric treatment.
It doesn’t end there – the motion further explains that not only was McBean armed with a rifle as he walked through an apartment complex, but he was also walking in the direction of the pool area where children and adults were actively swimming.
Why was McBean going to the pool with his rifle on a day when he was having a major mental break down?
It is clear that he was not only a threat to deputies, but a threat to innocent people minding their own business on a typical Florida summer afternoon. From Deputy Peraza’s standpoint, this was a massacre ready to unfold before his very eyes.
Hold on, there is more… The motion also includes observations by other witnesses. For instance, one witness stated that McBean looked like he was shrugging his shoulders as though he didn’t care what police were saying when they yelled at him to drop his weapon.
This one piece of evidence is extremely important because it is evidence that McBean HEARD police commands to drop the weapon, but IGNORED them. All of a sudden the earbud conspiracy theory (which is nonsense to begin with) is beginning to unravel.
Another witness said he was walking around like he was “zombified” and that he wasn’t carrying himself like a normal person. Other witnesses described McBean as looking “irate” and “angry” and walking like he was on a “mission”. Another witness indicated that he felt intimidated by McBean, who had a “blank” look on his face, and intentionally avoided him as a result.
McBean’s neighbor even explained that she had seen him talking to himself, laughing to himself, cursing out loud, and acting disturbed during the week and half prior to the shooting. She also heard him shouting and stomping around his apartment until 3:00 a.m. She was also concerned for the safety of her kids and told them to come inside in case he became violent.
While the neighbor stated that McBean had been acting this way for a week and half leading up to the shooting, she specifically stated that his behavior on the day of the shooting was the same as it was the week before (when he was hospitalized and had the mental health situation at work).
The motion further explains that on the day of the shooting, McBean went to a pawn shop and tried to buy a shotgun. Because the pawn shop didn’t sell shotguns, McBean ended up buying the rifle he was carrying in this case. That rifle, while in actuality is a pellet gun, is a real looking replica of a REAL camouflage hunting rifle.
After selling the rifle, the pawn shop owner warned McBean not to walk in the street with it. He even offered to sell it on layaway so McBean could pick it up later. McBean insisted, so the pawn shop owner wrapped the gun in a garbage bag. McBean left the store and at some point discarded the garbage bag.
THE BIG QUESTION
Talking to colleagues and friends around town who are familiar with this case, everyone seems to be hung up on one issue – Did McBean actually turn and threaten Deputy Peraza with his rifle?
The Motion to Compel answers that question: First and foremost, McBean was not shot in the back. Rather, he was shot in the chest, abdomen, and shoulder – proving that he could only have been facing Deputy Peraza at the moment of the shooting.
Photos prove this undeniable reality without equivocation.
Second, an eye witness specified that deputies “were yelling and ordering him down, ordering him to put down the rifle… and instead of taking the rifle off his shoulder and putting it down, he just turned around… and as soon as he turned around bang, bang, bang, bang.”
I. AM. DISGUSTED.
Let me get this straight – are you telling me prosecutors went to the Grand Jury with a story of a man who has a history of mental illness, who was off his medication, who was in the middle of a mental break down after being released from a hospital where he was given emergency psychiatric treatment, and armed himself with a rifle, walked with it down the street in broad daylight, and then turned and pointed that thing at deputies?
Is that the image they painted for Grand Jurors?
Did they tell the Grand Jury about the kids in the swimming pool? Did they tell them about the pawn shop owner’s warning not to walk in the street with the rifle?
Did prosecutors present ALL the witnesses? Did McBean’s neighbor testify? What about his co-workers who described him as acting manic, agitated, and incoherent?
Did they present the witness who described McBean as shrugging his shoulders and ignoring police commands to drop his weapon – OR – did they only present the photo of the headphones?
Did they present photos of the pellet rifle side-by-side the actual gun it is a replica of? Were the jurors made aware of how real that rifle looked even to a trained deputy – beyond merely looking at it in person?
What about the eye witness who was intimidated by McBean’s appearance or the ones who said he looked angry, irate, and on a mission? What about the woman who said he looked like a “zombified”?
REMEMBER – Grand Jury proceedings are secret proceedings where there is no judge, no defense lawyer, and prosecutors have no duty whatsoever to present exculpatory evidence or anything they don’t like in a case.
Why do you think not one single police shooting in Broward County has ever produced an indictment since 1980 – that is, of course, until the State Attorney was confronted by the national movement against law enforcement in the same year he is up for re-election…
Do you mean to tell me that the picketers in front of the courthouse did not enter into his judgment when deciding on a course of action in this case? What about the communication the State Attorney admits to having with the McBean family lawyer after he filed a civil lawsuit against Deputy Peraza and the Broward Sheriff’s Office?
You can read the article here: Sun-Sentinel Article (Oct. 23, 2015)
Picketers? Lawsuits? National politics?
Before you know it, the case is going to Grand Jury in less than two months – even though nearly two and half years had passed since the date of the shooting.
I have tremendous respect for our elected State Attorney – but I am not an idiot.
I am the voter that the elected State Attorney serves. I am the public that he represents. And I expect more.
I expect my State Attorney to be a true leader – the kind that stands up in every instance and does the right thing… especially when it means taking flack or doing something unpopular. Thats what leaders do.
It is what I am doing here.
Follow me and let us continue this fight for Deputy Peraza and for every woman and man that protects OUR LIVES on a 24/7 basis at great risk and danger to their own – without hesitation.
I won’t quit until Deputy Peraza is a free man patrolling our streets once again.
(You can your part by signing the Change.org petition here: Petition to Dismiss the Case Against Deputy Peraza)