Homicide detectives have completed their investigation into the fatal police shooting of Jermaine McBean, the Florida man who was killed while carrying an unloaded pellet gun and who may have been wearing earbud headphones at the time, impairing his ability to hear the police. Detectives have turned the case over to the prosecutors, who will soon present it to a Florida grand jury, the Associated Press reports.
This comes nearly two years after the shooting of McBean, a 33-year-old computer engineer. Witnesses saw him strolling along a sidewalk in Oakland Park, Fla., in July 2013 with what appeared to be a rifle. It was actually an unloaded pellet gun, which he had just bought at a pawnshop. Several people called 911, and the police responded promptly.
Authorities say that Deputy Peter Peraza yelled for McBean to put down the gun. “It appeared like he was ignoring us,” Peraza said later, according to AP. The police report says that McBean pointed the weapon at the responding officers. And that’s when Peraza fired the deadly shots.
One of the issues in this case is whether McBean was wearing earbud headphones when the police ordered him to turn around and drop the air rifle. McBean’s family says he could not hear the officers because he was listening to music. But the police deny that he was wearing the earpiece.
But a photo recently emerged that appears to show earbuds in McBean’s ears. This evidence raises questions about why the headphones were later found in McBean’s pocket, NBC News reports.
McBean’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court last month. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel responded by blaming McBean for his own death, according to NBC.
Israel asserts that the shooting was justified and even awarded Peraza a bravery commendation for shooting McBean.