PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. (AP) -- A South Florida sheriff's deputy has been charged with manslaughter in the 2013 shooting death of a man who was carrying only an air rifle and may have been unable to hear police commands because he was listening to music through earbuds.
A grand jury indictment released Friday charges Broward sheriff's deputy Peter Peraza with manslaughter with a firearm in the shooting of 33-year-old Jermaine McBean, who was black. The charge carries a maximum 30-year prison sentence.
Attorney Eric Schwartzreich said at a bond hearing Friday that Peraza was doing his job when he fatally shot McBean. Schwartzreich says Peraza had no choice but to treat the authentic-looking rifle as a real gun that was a threat to the public.
McBean was shot by Peraza after 911 callers reported seeing him carrying what appeared to be a real rifle down a busy street.
A judge set a $25,000 bond for Peraza, who faces 30 years in prison if convicted of manslaughter with a firearm. Peraza has been suspended from the Broward Sheriff's Office without pay pending the outcome of the case.
McBean's family welcomed Peraza's indictment, claiming there has been a cover-up in the case.