FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A manslaughter charge has been dismissed against a Florida deputy who claimed self-defense in the 2014 fatal shooting of a black man carrying what turned out to be an air rifle.
A circuit judge ruled Wednesday for Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputy Peter Peraza, who sought to get the case thrown out under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law. Peraza faced 30 years in prison if convicted.
The decision can be appealed by prosecutors.
The 37-year-old Peraza last year became the first Florida law enforcement officer charged for an on-duty shooting in some 30 years. He killed 33-year-old Jermaine McBean after 911 callers reported a man carrying a rifle down a busy street.
Social media reacted to a possible racial motivation for the shooting because McBean was black and Peraza is a white Hispanic.
McBean’s family says he failed to drop the rifle because he was listening to music through earbuds.