Shooting of Corey Jones

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Corey Jones
Born Corey Lamar Jones
(1984-02-03)February 3, 1984
Died October 18, 2015(2015-10-18) (aged 31)
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida U.S.
Cause of death Shooting
Nationality American
Education University of Akron
Occupation Housing Authority Inspector
Assistant Property Manager
Musician
Parent(s) Clinton Jones, Sr.
Anita Banks-Negron
Relatives Sylvester Banks, Sr. (grandfather)
C. J. Jones (brother)
Melissa Jones (sister) C'von Jones (sister)
Anquan Boldin (cousin)
Vince Wilfork (cousin)

Corey Jones (February 3, 1984 – October 18, 2015) was an African-American man[1] who was shot by a plainclothes police officer while waiting by his disabled car in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.[2][3][4]

On June 1, 2016, the officer who shot Jones, Nouman K. Raja, was charged with manslaughter and attempted murder.

Corey Jones biography[edit]

Jones was born to father Clinton Jones, Sr., who renovated houses, and mother, Anita Banks, a guidance counselor, who died from cancer in 2006.[5] Jones' older brother, C. J. Jones, was a football player at University of Iowa and from 2003 to 2009 played as a wide receiver in the National Football League (NFL). Jones' younger sister was Melissa Jones. Jones came from a very large extended family; among his cousins are NFL defensive tackle Vince Wilfork and NFL wide receiver Anquan Boldin.[6] He lived in Lake Worth, Florida.[2]

Jones attended Christa McAuliffe Middle School in Boynton Beach, Florida, where he played the French horn. His entire family was musical, and played instruments at home as well as at church.[1] Jones graduated from Santaluces Community High School in Lantana, where he played football.[7] Jones then graduated from the University of Akron with degrees in business administration and music. He worked as a youth mentor at My Brother's Keeper, a non-profit organization that helps African-American youths.[6]

Jones worked at the Delray Beach Housing Authority for eight years. He was an Inspector/Assistant Property Manager, a job that involved inspecting housing units to make sure they were livable. The position also required assisting tenants and landlords with communication.[8][9]

Jones also worked part-time as a drummer.[10] He played in a band at his church, the Bible Church of God in Boynton Beach, Florida, where his grandfather, Sylvester Banks, Sr., is a bishop. He also played with a band called Future Prezidents with bandmates that included Boris Simeonov and Mathew Huntsberger.[6]

Death[edit]

On Sunday, October 18, 2015, at approximately 3:15 am, a plainclothes police officer in an unmarked white van with tinted windows wearing a T-shirt, jeans, and a baseball cap,[11] stopped by what he said was an abandoned vehicle. The Palm Beach Gardens Police Officer, Nouman K. Raja, approached the vehicle at the southbound exit ramp of Interstate 95 and PGA Boulevard. Raja, on-duty doing burglary surveillance, said he was confronted by an armed subject, so he discharged his weapon and killed the man, later identified as Jones, a musician and local housing authority worker. In total, Raja discharged his weapon six times. He hit Jones with three shots. One bullet entered the side of Jones' body, went through his aorta, killing him, and ended up in the top part of his torso, while the other bullets went through his body, hitting his left elbow and right shoulder.[1] Jones' arm was broken from the impact of one of the bullets.[2]

Raja was not wearing a body camera and his vehicle was not equipped with a camera.[12][13]

Jones, who was driving a Hyundai Santa Fe, had car trouble, had first called his brother, C.J. Jones, who offered to come help him. Jones was due in church the next morning and needed his car, so he told his brother not to come pick him up. Jones' bandmate, Huntsberger, came to help, bringing oil, but they were not able to get the car running. Jones called for a tow truck and with that assurance, Huntsberger left.[11] Jones had been returning home to Boynton Beach, Florida, after playing a show in Jupiter, Florida, at Johnny Mangos Tiki Bar & Grill.[1] He had been playing with his band, the Future Prezidents.[14] It was reported that Jones had been on the phone with AT&T roadside assistance when he was approached by the police officer. He had also called FHP, Florida Highway Patrol's line for assistance, and AT&T #HELP multiple times trying to get help. Jones was using his government-issued work phone, so the records are available under state law.[15]

Jones' body was found a good distance – 80–100 feet (24–30 m) – away from the vehicle, from which he appeared to have run. Jones had a .380-caliber gun, which he had purchased three days prior to the shooting, and for which he had a concealed carry license. The gun was found on the ground between Jones' body and his car and had not been discharged.[12][16]

Investigation and response[edit]

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office conducted an independent investigation of the incident. The Palm Beach Gardens Police Department released a 90-page personnel file on Raja.[17] The FBI will assist the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office in its investigation.[18][19]

Raja was an adjunct police academy instructor at Palm Beach State College, where he taught part-time. He was put on administrative leave from the college as well as the police department, which is policy when there is an officer involved shooting. Raja previously worked at Atlantis Police Department in Atlantis, Florida, for seven years, from 2008 to 2015.[13] On November 11, 2015, Raja's employment with the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department, which was in a six-month probationary status from hire date April 13, 2015, was terminated.[20][21] Around the same time, Raja's employment with Palm Beach State College was terminated, as a condition of his employment was his job working in the criminal justice system.[22]

Jones' family is represented by Benjamin Crump, who represented the family of Trayvon Martin, as well as attorney Daryl D. Parks.[2] On October 31, there was a funeral for Jones at Payne Chapel AME Church in West Palm Beach, Florida.[23] Apostle Sharon Walker delivered the eulogy. Reverend Al Sharpton delivered words to the family.[24]

Criminal charges against Raja and release of evidence in the case[edit]

On June 1, 2016, a grand jury charged Raja with manslaughter by culpable negligence and attempted first-degree murder with a firearm. Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg announced that the grand jury concluded Raja had no justification to shoot Jones, and the charging documents "allege that Raja never identified himself to Jones as a police officer as he drove up to the stranded motorist, yelled commands and then opened fire."[25][26]

Raja was arrested and his bond was set at $250,000. After making bail, Raja was released from the Palm Beach County Jail and placed under house arrest. A variety of conditions of pretrial release, including GPS monitoring and surrender of Raja's passport, were imposed.[27][28]

On January 17, 2017, investigators publicly released evidence in the case, including "more than 3,000 pages of documents and 50 video and audio recordings," in response to a public records request made by the Palm Beach Post and nine other news outlets. Included in the evidence were audio tapes from the phone calls to AT&T Roadside Assistance and 9-1-1 were released. Although Raja had told investigators previously that he had called 9-1-1 before shooting Jones, the audio recording of the emergency call showed the shots had been fired 33 seconds before Raja dialed. The recording also showed that Raja never identified himself to Jones as a police officer. In a State Attorney's Office report released on January 17, 2017, prosecutors state that Officer Raja lied to investigators, giving an account of events that contradicted the evidence.[29]

On January 18, 2018, defense attorneys for Nouman Raja filed a motion to dismiss all charges citing Florida's 'stand your ground' laws. [30] In the motion, Raja claims that he identified himself as a police officer as he excited the van, that Jones "immediately jumped out, saying 'I'm okay, man'" as he approached the vehicle, and that Jones then "immediately drew a gun and pointed it at Officer Raja." [31] Defense attorneys claim that Raja "repeatedly yelled for [Jones] to put his hands up and to 'drop the gun.'" [32] Raja further stated he saw the silver muzzle pointing at him, and that he believed the gun was equipped with a red laser. [33]

Civil suit against City and Raja[edit]

On July 6, 2016, the family of Corey Jones filed a wrongful death suit, naming the City of Palm Beach Gardens and Raja as defendants.[34]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Duret, Daphne (October 30, 2015). "Who was Corey Jones? Life's passions and loves of a man shot and killed by a police officer". Palm Beach Post. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d Robles, Frances; Hauser, Christine (October 22, 2015). "Lawyers Provide Details in Police Shooting of Corey Jones in Florida". The New York Times. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  3. ^ Temple, Candice; Stepp, Stephen (Police Chief) (October 20, 2015). "Transcript: Media Statement N Raja Incident (3 MB)" (Microsoft Word). Palm Beach Gardens Police Department. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Officer-Involved Shooting - Information Regarding Officer-Involved Shooting: Main Info". Palm Beach Gardens Police Department. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  5. ^ Fischer, David; Frisaro, Freida; Strader, Jawan. "Union Working to Get Officer's Job Back After Corey Jones Shooting". NBC Miami. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c Cleary, Tom (October 19, 2015). "Corey Jones: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy.com. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  7. ^ Lulu Ramadan, Boynton man killed by Gardens police was former NFL player's brother, Palm Beach Post (October 20, 2015).
  8. ^ "Staff: Inspector/Assistant Property Manager Corey Jones". Delray Beach Housing Authority. 2015. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  9. ^ Board of Commissioners; President/CEO & Staff (2015). "Letter From the CEO". Delray Beach Housing Authority. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Attorneys: Fla. musician shot 3 times by cop, never fired his gun". CBS News. The Associated Press. October 22, 2015. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  11. ^ a b Botelho, Greg; Ford, Dana; Karimi, Faith; Machado, Alina; de Diego, Javier (October 22, 2015). "Family: Corey Jones didn't shoot before being killed by plainclothes police officer". CNN. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  12. ^ a b Stephanopoulos, George; Benitez, Gio; Abrams, Dan (October 23, 2015). "New Evidence in Corey Jones Death". ABC News - Good Morning America. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  13. ^ a b "N Raja Public Records Requested (16 KB)". Palm Beach Gardens Police Department. October 20, 2015. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  14. ^ Alcindor, Yamiche (October 21, 2015). "Lawyer: Corey Jones likely died thinking he was being attacked". USA Today. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  15. ^ Mower, Lawrence; Duret, Daphne (October 26, 2015). "Exclusive: Corey Jones phone records show last call". Palm Beach Post. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  16. ^ Robles, Frances; Hauser, Christine (October 20, 2015). "Corey Jones, Black Drummer Killed by Police in Florida, Had Gun". The New York Times. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Nouman Raja Personnel Packet". Palm Beach Gardens Police Department. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  18. ^ Alter, Charlotte (October 23, 2015). "Report: FBI to Join Probe of Corey Jones Death". Time. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  19. ^ Whigham II, Julius (October 23, 2015). "Update: Corey Jones shooting: FBI helping PBSO rare under Bradshaw". Palm Beach Post. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Officer-Involved Shooting - Information Regarding Officer-Involved Shooting: City Statement Issued on 11.12.15". Palm Beach Gardens Police Department. November 12, 2015. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  21. ^ Ortega, Juan (November 12, 2015). "Palm Beach Gardens fires officer Nouman Raja after Corey Jones police shooting". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  22. ^ Sacasa, Adam (November 13, 2015). "Palm Beach State College cuts ties with officer who shot, killed Corey Jones". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  23. ^ "Corey Lamar Jones - Obituary". Sun-Sentinel. October 30, 2015. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  24. ^ Entin, Brian (October 31, 2015). "Church full for Corey Jones' funeral". WPTV-TV. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  25. ^ Capelouto, Susanna (June 1, 2016). "Corey Jones death: Florida officer charged". CNN. Retrieved June 6, 2016. 
  26. ^ Wesley Lowery, Plainclothes officer who killed Florida church drummer is charged with manslaughter, attempted murder, Washington Post (June 1, 2016).
  27. ^ Michelle Quesada, Jason Hackett, & Christina Noce, Nouman Raja's makes $250K bail, remains in jail, will be on house arrest after release, WPTV (June 2, 2016).
  28. ^ Christina Noce & Alyssa Hyman, Nouman Raja now under house arrest after release from jail: Arraignment scheduled for June 14, WPTV (June 4, 2016).
  29. ^ Mendez-Muñiz, Heru (January 17, 2017). "BREAKING: Prosecutors said officer lied in Corey Jones' shooting". Palm Beach Post. 
  30. ^ Dure, Daphne (January 18, 2018). "Nouman Raja files 'Stand Your Ground' claim in Corey Jones shooting". Palm Beach Post. 
  31. ^ State v. Raja, 50-2016-CF-005507-AXXX-MB, Docket #314 Pg.5, ¶ 12 (Fla. Cir. Ct. Jan. 18, 2018).
  32. ^ State v. Raja, 50-2016-CF-005507-AXXX-MB, Docket #314 Pg.5, ¶ 12 (Fla. Cir. Ct. Jan. 18, 2018).
  33. ^ State v. Raja, 50-2016-CF-005507-AXXX-MB, Docket #314 Pg.5, ¶ 12 (Fla. Cir. Ct. Jan. 18, 2018).
  34. ^ "Family of Corey Jones files wrongful death suit". WPTV. 2016-07-06. Retrieved 2016-07-06.