Attorney: Officer Never Identified Himself, Jones Never Fired Weapon
Jones was shot dead by Palm Beach Gardens police officer Nouman Raja. Raja claims that he shot Jones because he confronted him with a gun. Jones’ car had broken down on 1-95 and he was waiting for a tow truck. Jones, a church musician and housing inspector, was a licensed gun owner.
There are several aspects of the case that are confusing. Raja was driving an unmarked vehicle and apparently didn’t identify himself as a police officer when he pulled up behind Jones’ car. Also, why did Raja stop and investigate a vehicle broken down on the freeway, when that’s usually the jurisdiction of the highway patrol? Jones’ body was found about 100 feet from his car, which indicates he may have been trying to get away. CBS News reports that Raja was not wearing a body camera and none of the department’s cars have dash cameras.
According to The Guardian, Benjamin Crump, a lawyer representing the Jones family, has released more information about the case. Crump said Jones never fired his weapon. He was shot three times by Raja. Crump said Jones may have been wary when an unmarked van pulled up behind his car in the middle of the night.
“How did Corey know that this was a police officer? Why didn’t he identify himself? Why didn’t he show the badge?” said Crump at a press conference held at the Palm Beach Courthouse. “He rolls up on him in an unmarked white van with tinted windows. He doesn’t know if he’s about to get mugged, if he’s about to get robbed, or he’s about to be killed. Imagine yourself on the side of the road at three in the morning and an unmarked van rolls up on you?”
The Jones family also disputes Raja’s account. Jones, brother Clinton, said the behavior described in the police report was totally out of character.
“He was the kindest, the closest, the happiest person anybody could imagine,” said Clinton Jones. “I knew everything about my brother. We know that he would not ever, ever, ever pull a gun on police. This is not like him.”
Jones’ father, also called Clinton, is a minister. He said he raised his children to be respectful towards police.
“I raised my children to be respectable and to respect the law,” he said. “I always tell them to stay humble. I need answers. I need to know why is my son gone today.”
The case is also being investigated by Florida State Attorney Dave Aronberg and the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office.
Officer Raja has been placed on administrative leave. The Guardian also reported Raja had been accused of mishandling evidence and paperwork by a previous police department. He was also reported to have held onto a bottle of prescription medicine seized from a suspect.