FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The lawyer for a suspended Broward Sheriff's Office deputy accused of shooting a man who was holding an unloaded air rifle in 2013 argued in court Thursday for the release of the bipolar man's medical records.
"I want to know those medical records," attorney Eric Schwartzreich said.
Peter Peraza is charged with manslaughter in the July 2013 shooting of Jermaine McBean.
"No one wants this information to come out," attorney Eric Schwartzreich said.
Eric Schwartzreich claims those medical records will reveal that McBean was unstable and possibly suicidal when Peraza opened fire on McBean while he was holding an air rifle at an Oakland Park apartment complex.
But McBean's family and the state attorney's office are fighting to keep those records from the defense and the public.
"Their argument, essentially, at the end of the day, is that this deputy had a license to shoot and kill Jermaine McBean because he suffered from bipolar disorder," family attorney David Schoen said. "That's offensive to the 51 million or more people around the world who suffer from bipolar disorder."
McBean was hospitalized in the days before the shooting after he exhibited strange behavior at work. Schoen said McBean voluntarily went to the health-care facility in coordination with his boss.
Police union boss Jeff Marano said the health records are crucial to Peraza's defense.
"It was a classic suicide by cop," Marano said of McBean's mental state.
Schoen points to the fact that an eyewitness said McBean never pointed the gun at anyone.
"It gives them an easy out," Schoen said.