FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A judge said Thursday that he would consider releasing the mental health records of a man who was killed while carrying an air rifle by a Broward Sheriff's Office deputy charged with manslaughter.
The attorney for suspended Deputy Peter Peraza claims the medical records of Jermaine McBean will reveal that he was unstable and possibly suicidal when Peraza shot him. But McBean's family is fighting to keep those records private.
McBean, 33, was fatally shot by Peraza while carrying an air rifle near an Oakland Park apartment complex in July 2013.
"This is a man who had mental health issues, was walking down the street with a gun and took it out of the bag and pointed it and didn't listen to commands and was shot," attorney Eric Schwartzreich told Local 10 News.
McBean's family insists he was listening to music through earbuds and did not hear Peraza's commands to drop the rifle.
Alfred McBean acknowledged that his brother had mental health issues, which have been widely reported.
"It's a private matter, and we'd like it to remain private," he said.
His mother, Jennifer Young, called it a "sad situation."
"I'm sorry he's fighting for his life, but I'm also fighting for my child," she said.
BSO homicide Detective John Curcio testified that McBean's actions -- carrying what appeared to be a rifle -- were intentionally reckless.
"There (were) certain aspects of his own actions that, again, led me to believe he was either in some form of mental crisis or he should have at least known his actions were going to cause people to call 911," Curcio said.
Investigators found prescription medication for mental illness inside McBean's apartment, but the state argued that authorities had no warrant.
Peraza has pleaded not guilty. He faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.
Young called the defense's request "a fishing expedition."
"He shot him, and he needs to be held responsible for it," Young said.
The judge will review the records before deciding what, if any, will be made public.