Manslaughter Charge Dismissed for Florida Cop

     (CN) — A Florida circuit court judge on Wednesday dismissed a manslaughter charge against a Florida deputy who claimed self-defense in the July 2014 fatal shooting of a 33-year-old black man carrying what turned out to be an air rifle.
     Judge Michael Usan, of Florida’s 17th Circuit Criminal Court, ruled in favor of suspended Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Peter Peraza under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law that eliminates a requirement to retreat — for civilians and law enforcement officers — when facing a dire threat.
     Peraza, 37, a white Hispanic, testified during a hearing that Jermaine McBean refused commands from him and other deputies to drop what they took for a deadly weapon. Instead, he claimed, McBean pointed it toward the deputies. Peraza fired three shots, killing him.
     In his 36-page order, Usan said the shooting was a “tragedy” and acknowledged the ongoing national debate involving the shootings by police officers of black people and the hostility and threats sometimes directed at police.
     That debate, however, has “no place in this courtroom concerning this case” Usan said.
     “This case involves the tragic death of one man and the liberty of another. To allow the conflicting agenda of supporters of either side to invade this legal process would be a far greater injustice,” he said.
     Peraza faced 30 years in prison if the case had gone forward and he’d been convicted.
     The McBean family’s attorney, David Schoen, called the ruling “a slap to the face of the grand jury and the people of Broward County.”
     Prosecutors said they will appeal the decision.

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