The Command Jermaine McBean Never Heard

Police reports made the killing of Jermaine McBean on Dixie Highway in Oakland Park, Florida, clean as a whistle.  Carrying a rifle as he walked down the street, a call to 911 brought police to the scene. Broward County Deputy Peter Peraza arrived and says he told McBean to drop the gun.  Peraza says McBean turned and pointed the rifle at him, so he killed him. A righteous shoot.

Except for the damn photograph.

After Florida police shot Jermaine McBean to death as he walked home with an unloaded air rifle, they said there was no reason to believe he did not hear their orders to drop the weapon and that he pointed it at them.

But a newly emerged photo that shows headphones in McBean’s ears immediately after the 2013 shooting raises questions about the police version of events, including why the white earbuds were later found stuffed in the dead computer expert’s pocket.

That the deputy might not have noticed the earbuds in McBean’s ears is one thing. That he lied about them, concealed them, is another.  While McBean’s family told police that he always wore the earbuds when he was walking, that doesn’t prove that he was wearing them at the time Peraza ordered him to drop the gun.  But this does:


And that wasn’t the only issue with Peraza’s claims.

And another aspect of the police account is also being contradicted — by a man who called 911 in alarm when he saw McBean walking around with the air rifle but who also says McBean never pointed it at police or anyone else.

Michael Russell McCarthy, 58, told NBC News that McBean had the Winchester Model 1000 Air Rifle balanced on his shoulders behind his neck, with his hand over both ends, and was turning around to face police when one officer began shooting.

“He [McBean] couldn’t have fired that gun from the position he was in. There was no possible way of firing it and at the same time hitting something,” McCarthy said.

No doubt there is spin to justify how he could have swung the gun around the back of his neck and, as in some cool action movie, pointed and shot at the deputy.  A long shot, perhaps, but conceptually possible.

But that wasn’t the deputy’s claim. Going back to 2013, before Broward County Sheriff’s office knew anyone would challenge Peraza’s story:

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright said in a press release that McBean was ordered “several times to stop and drop” his gun, and “he began to turn and point it in the direction of the deputy,” Peraza, who fired his handgun.

“Whew,” went all the people who read the Sun Sentinel that day.  Nothing more to see here. Just a guy with a gun who was unfortunately killed, but it was all his fault.  The deputy did what he had to do, as no one expects him to let a guy point what “resembled a high-powered hunting rifle” at him.

Jermaine McBean was a 33-year-old computer systems engineer, not the sort of guy who would be inclined to beg for a bullet by pointing his gun at a cop.

McBean was from Stamford, Conn., and attended Pace University in New York, where his brother said he earned a master’s degree in computer science.

McBean rode a motorcycle, was “very smart” and was “an awesome uncle” who spoiled his four nieces and nephews and took them on deep sea fishing trips in Florida, Alfred McBean said. “He was definitely a well-loved member of the family.”

And he liked to listen to music with his earbuds, which was likely the last thing he heard before the sound of a gun firing a bullet that would kill him.


41 thoughts on “The Command Jermaine McBean Never Heard

  1. Ross

    I’ve seen that model of air rifle, and it looks like an air rifle, not an actual firearm, even if painted in camouflage as the linked article mentioned. The rhetorical question of the day is whether it is unreasonable of us to think that a police officer ought to ascertain whether the suspect is carrying an actual firearm or not, prior to shooting, especially when the 911 caller mentions that it looks like a BB gun.

    1. SHG Post author

      Not being knowledgeable about guns of any stripe, I leave questions like these to others who know better. Should a cop know the difference? Is it easy to tell?

      1. Karl Erich Martell

        Hmm. While there exist real cartridge rifles that look similar to the Winchester Model 1000 air rifle, I don’t think anyone with much familiarity with firearms would mistake this model air rifle for a real gun. OTOH, a lot of LEOs aren’t really gun guys . . . however, I’m sure every LEO is aware that air rifles are common. (I’m not getting at all into the propriety of what happened – the bottom line is that I _am_ a gun guy, and there’s no chance I would have thought I was in mortal danger from that gun.)

        1. Char Char Binks

          That’s easy to say when the rifle is conveniently cut out of the pic. It looks like a real gun.

      2. Ken Hagler

        I don’t think it matters for cop excuse purposes, because it’s theoretically possible to blind someone if you shoot them in the eye with a BB gun, which counts as “great bodily harm.”

        1. SHG Post author

          I agree if someone aims a BB gun at you. As for having it in hand, with only the potential of a threat, maybe not.

          1. Ken Hagler

            Oh, absolutely. The cops have already claimed that he was aiming it at them, though, and unless video surfaces of the shooting we can expect their claim will stand, because cops.

            1. SHG Post author

              Except the guy who called in the 911, a neutral observer, disputes the cop’s claim that he was pointing it. Alone, that was still iffy. In combination about the lie about the earbuds, it’s looking very different.

            2. Char Char Binks

              I’m sure the three concerned citizens who called 911 on McBean did so because he was behaving in an alarmingly nonviolent, nonthreatening, completely rational fashion. After all, he was only screaming “too himself”, and not to anyone else, so it was probably quiet, sensible screaming.

            3. SHG Post author

              Or you can just listen to the 911 (rather than those weird secret voices in your head that you hear), and know they called because black guy plus rifle. Best 911 operator question: “Is he black or Hispanic?” Because reasons.

            4. Bill

              Char Char – SHG doesn’t allow links but you can click on my name links to my website. I’ll have a full post up by tomorrow. He’s a dark skinned man wearing white headphones. Using the shade of his skin and the headphones and approximate proportions, I’ll prove that using a computer (which at best is less accurate at image recognition than a 2 year old) headphones can be accurately identified from anything under 12 meters. It takes 17 meters before identification probability drops below 68%. Brown or black headphones you *might* have a point but with those color differentials, anything under 10 meters is virtual certainty. I’d further point out that people frequently sing to themselves when listening to music and lose track of how loud they are. Pick your search engine of choice and use “Bluetooth Headset’ and “Talking to himself”. If he was singing along to hip hop as opposed to Gene Autry, it could easily be misconstrued for ‘screaming’. To do the story justice, I’ll rerun everything with low res (a fraction of the human eye’s recognition levels) and let’s see what it shows, I’m betting it’s still clear at 7 or 8 meters. If I post video and the source code that you can verify yourself, would that shut you the f*** up?

            5. SHG Post author

              Bill, Char isn’t here to learn. He’s here to troll. Don’t harsh the guy’s mellow with facts.

  2. Ross

    I think it’s easy to tell, due to barrel shape, stock shape, and some other details, but I also have almost 40 years of experience with both firearms and airguns in a variety of settings. Police should be able to tell, but that may vary from place to place. I would not expect a NYPD officer to have the breadth of knowledge on guns that a rural officer has, given the overall differences in gun culture, gun laws, and opportunities to learn.

    1. SHG Post author

      Imagine how great this comment would have been had you used the reply button, so that it actually followed a thread of thought.

  3. Char Char Binks

    [Ed. Note: Fixed this for you.]

    I’m a badge-licking moron, who thinks it’s my job to roam the internet looking for stories that put police in a bad light. I then offer ridiculously idiotic excuses, make up “facts” to try to confuse people, and hope that whoever reads my comment is stupid enough not to realize that I am a pandering, cop-loving asswipe. So this is my effort to salvage this post and fool the ignorant into believing it’s not nearly as bad as it clearly is. Oh, and I hope that everyone who disagrees with me gets murdered by a cop, because that’s the kind of guy I am.

    1. Char Char Binks

      That is so childish. Go ahead and “fix” this for me if it makes you feel better. You’re pathetic.

      1. SHG Post author

        Aw, you didn’t call me “Greenie” this time or wish me being shot. You’re losing your edge.

  4. Bob Walker

    My nephew was a great person who made a simple mistake by not chasing down the bag that the gun was in when blew off, he was almost home. The cops should have never tried to cover up that they made a mistake, they lied and concealed evidence. That officer is going straight to hell for this, he and the other officer who lied should be sent to jail for the cover up.

    1. Char Char Binks

      And the earbuds mean what? That he didn’t hear the cops shouting at him over the loud music, and his own screaming? What cover up? If they wanted to cover up the earbuds, why didn’t they throw them out? Besides, Peraza didn’t say McBean didn’t have earbuds, only that he didn’t see them, and they’re not very noticeable at a distance. The press spins it by calling them “headphones”, which, although correct, seems to imply large, earmuff-like headphones rather than small, inconspicuous earbuds. They put them in his pocket to preserve the evidence, because they could have easily fallen out of his ears during transport of the body.

      1. SHG Post author

        Except that Peraza continued to deny he had earbuds in after the killing, which he would have known when he took them out of McBean’s ears “to preserve the evidence.” Nope, spin fail.

      2. Sgt. Schultz

        Some guys just love getting the shit smacked out of them, so they come back for me. But Char, you aren’t even making SHG break a sweat. Is that the best you can do? You really have to try harder.

        1. Char Char Binks

          There IS shit flying, but isn’t coming from me. Peraza didn’t deny McB had earbuds, but he continually denied seeing them at the time of the shooting. The “investigation” said he wasn’t wearing earbuds, but it’s really a minor point, and the correct version actually is even more exculpatory for Peraza. And the weapons expert Michael McCarthy who said McB couldn’t have shot the cops was so unconcerned about it that he called 911, which is exactly what I do every time I see a non-emergency happening. Oh wait, did I say “weapons expert”? I meant “disabled fisherman”.

            1. SHG Post author

              In the beginning, you were at least amusing if idiotic. Now, you’re not. Enough space wasted. Your one day at SJ has come to a close.

  5. John Barleycorn

    Take note of the first thirty seconds or so of the second half of the 911 recordings at the link. The call placed by the woman.

    I wonder if they train 911 operators in Florida to get to the vital identifying information straight away whenever “a guy” is reported walking down the street?

    The first follow up question from the 911 operator about “there is a guy walking down the street” is; “Is he black or Hispanic?”.

    Must be because white-ass crackers don’t walk down streets in Florida or something?

    P.S. I am really surprised you and your readership don’t realize the ear buds were tactical communications intercept equipment. He was for sure listening to the police scanner before he made his car-jacking move and or circled back to rob the bank.

    When these black or Hispanic criminals learn that the streamed police scanner traffic has a delay all the races that don’t walk are gonna be really fucked!

  6. losingtrader

    Can everyone please stop the “because ?” It’s lost the effect it used to have.
    Because grammar.

      1. SHG Post author

        Words like “retard” are needlessly offensive. This is why people don’t like you and you’re forced to troll the internets in an effort to compensate for your small penis.

  7. David Schoen

    Mr. Binks:

    I understand your skepticism – I hope that is all that it is – and in fairness you don’t have access to all of the evidence. This matter will be dealt with in the courtroom, as it should be; but it is important that the public have all of the facts.

    1. Deputy Peraza testified under oath that he went over and stood from over the “weapon” after he shot Jermaine. As you can see from the picture, that is right next to Jermaine. It would have been impossible not to have seen the ear phones.

    2. He might have said that he did not see them; but the homicide investigator assigned to the case confirmed in writing to the family – who kept emphasizing that Jermaine always had ear phone or head phones on/in and must have this day – that he checked with every officer on the scene and Jermaine had nothing in his ears. That is a definitive statement.

    3. The autopsy proves Jermaine could not have been facing Peraza straight on with the gun leveled like he claims.

    4. By the time Peraza was given his award for bravery, saving civilian lives at great risk to his own, etc. all of the folks involved knew that he had just killed an innocent man – an beloved engineer who was carrying an unloaded air rifle. What was the risk to civilians and whose lives did Peraza save. It was a tragedy, not something for an award.

    I could go on and on; but will save it for court.

    1. SHG Post author

      David, Char is a troll, here for the first time today only for the purpose of trying to confuse the facts and diffuse culpability. That happens a lot on the internet, and it’s not to be taken seriously. Most people online know better than to take a troll seriously. We don’t here, which is why he’s received ridicule rather than serious responses.

      No need for you to feel compelled to address his nonsense or to give it as much credence as you do. A rule of thumb is not to feed the trolls. You served him a three course meal by taking him seriously. Best not to do so, and ineffective crisis management. Please trust me on this.

    2. Bill

      David – I thought the comment about the “Award for bravery” was just an attempt at irony but the rest of your post seemed too serious to just inject some random sarcasm. Sure enough the Peraza really did get a Gold Cross award for this. By now I guess it’s only us non-lawyers that are surprised by something like that ;-(

    1. Wrongway

      Also, I have to wonder about the carry laws in FL.

      is open carry legal ?
      do you have to have a permit to carry an air rifle ?

      1. Ken Hagler

        It’s generally not legal for firearms, although there are exceptions for people who are hunting, fishing, camping, or target shooting, and traveling too or from one of those activities. None of that applied in this case, since a BB gun isn’t a firearm and Mr. McBean hadn’t been doing anything that had an exception. While the cops claimed that they thought he did have a firearm, there’s no mention of them giving any consideration to whether he might have fit one of the exceptions.

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