A Police Officer Shoots Yet Another Young Black Man

Corey Jones, of Boynton Beach, Florida had car trouble around 3:00 a.m. on the morning of Oct. 18. He had been playing a gig in Jupiter, Florida with his band Future Prezidents.  A friend stopped to help and was on his way to purchase oil for the vehicle as Jones waited for the assistance on an exit ramp of I-95.

Jones was approached by an unmarked squad car and shot by an off-duty, plainclothes officer. Details of what happened next are still vague, but Jones ended up shot to death on the dark, deserted interstate ramp.

“I tried to help him the best I could, but I’m not a mechanic or anything,” said Mathew Huntsberger, the friend who was with Jones less than an hour before the shooting, in a Washington Post interview Oct. 19. “When I left him, he was sitting in his car calling roadside assistance,” Huntsberger said. “I never would have thought that someone was going to come kill him.”

That off-duty officer has been identified as Nouman Raja.  The Palm Beach Gardens officer claims he stopped to inspect Jones’ vehicle, thinking it was abandoned, and a deadly altercation ensued, police said.

“As the officer exited his vehicle, he was suddenly confronted by an armed subject,” police officials said in a statement. Raja, who started with the department earlier this year, according to the local NBC affiliate WPTV, fatally wounded Jones in a confrontation. Raja was not wearing a body camera nor are the department’s cars equipped with them.

Police haven’t specified what type of weapon Jones had. Additional details about what led to the shooting haven’t been disclosed, pending an investigation. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the shooting.

Bob Jarvis, a law professor at Nova Southeastern University, told reporters with the Sun Sentinel that things might have been different had the officer not been in plainclothes and an unmarked patrol car:

“Jones may not have known “if someone was approaching to rob or mug him,” Jarvis said. In such encounters, it could be that “the person doesn’t realize that they’re being approached by a cop.”

Jarvis said what happened between the men might never be fully known because there were no cameras or bystanders.

“If Raja did do everything right, it’s terrible for him,” Jarvis said. “There were only two people and one of them is dead.”

A strange, armed man, in an unmarked car, in plainclothes, on a mission, approaches the victim at 3:00 a.m. on a deserted interstate. That DOES NOT sound like an educated police officer “doing everything right.”

Damage Control

Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association President John Kazanjian told NBC affiliate WPTV that Palm Beach Gardens officers are receiving death threats following the shooting, (also known as playing the victim.) He blames the police chief for not being transparent enough.

“You don’t want another Ferguson where they sat on information for, for days and it seems like this is what Gardens is doing. You need to get out there and address the public,” Kazanjian said.

God forbid another police force is exposed as having racial bias.

About The Victim

Jones was a graduate of the University of Akron in Ohio and worked for the Delray Beach Housing Authority. Jones’ family is well-known in Boynton Beach, partly because of their community service with the Bible Church of God where Jones’ grandfather, Sylvester Banks, is a bishop.

“He respected everyone,” Dorothy Ellington, CEO of the Delray Beach Housing Authority where Jones worked for eight years, told local new reporters. “I can’t imagine what could have happened that would cause the police officer to be threatened by Corey,” she said. “Corey was not a threat to anyone.”

“I remember him saying that, but Corey would never pull out a gun on anyone, and never on an officer,” she said.

Banks just hopes that through an investigation, the truth will come out.

“I know Corey’s soul is crying out for justice,” she said. “We’re righteous people, but we believe in the truth. We’re going to find out what happened to Corey.”

“I don’t understand,” band mate Boris Simeonov said. “Something seems really wrong here.”

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