Florida Ex-Officer Convicted in Fatal Shooting of Black Motorist

Florida Expoliceman Has Been Found Guilty of Manslaughter 

A Florida ex-policeman has been found guilty of manslaughter and attempted first-degree murder in the 2015 shooting death of a black musician. Nouman Raja (expoliceman), 41, faces a minimum of 25 years in prison for the killing of Corey Jones, whose vehicle had broken down in 2015 when he was shot. 

Nouman Raja in court

It Has Been Found that Raja Lied About The Encounter 

Prosecutors say that Raja lied about the details of the fatal encounter with Jones.  A phone call placed by Jones to a tow truck service proves that Raja never identified himself as the police.  

What Happened Between Jones and Raja? 

Jones initially called for a tow truck service at 3:15am on Palm Beach Gardens motorway exit ramp. The call documents Raja calmly requesting a tow truck, then continues with words exchanged between Jones and Raja, then six shots being fired from Raja’s personal Glock pistol.  

Corey Jones, 31, a professional drummer, is shown in this photo released by Florida State University National Black Alumni, Inc on 20 October 2015

The Phone Call 

As the sounds of car doors opening and closing come into the scene, Jones is heard saying “huh?” as Raja says, “You good?”. Jones replies that he is. Raja then questions “Really?” twice before yelling at Jones to put his hands up while he uses an expletive. Jones is heard saying “hold on” and then sounds of gunshots is heard. Raja fired his weapon 3 times, waited ten seconds, and then fired his weapon 3 more times. 

Officer Raja (second from right) was fired shortly after the shooting

Indefensible Actions 

Raja’s personal gun was purchased a few days prior to the incident to protect very expensive drum equipment in his SUV. Raja claims that he was in fear of being robbed by Jones. Raja was on duty at the time, although he was in an unmarked car. Raja did not wear a uniform nor possessed a dashcam or body cam. Raja also never produced the police badge that was in his pocket. Raja claimed to identify himself as a police officer, but the phone recording proved that that was a lie. The defense claimed that the crime fell under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law due to Raja claiming he was in fear for his life.  

the courtroom

The Sentencing 

Jones’ family could be heard crying in the courtroom as the proceedings continued on/ The family was also heard crying as images of Jones’ body lying in the grass were shown to the court. Raja’s verdict was guilty for manslaughter. Jones’ family says the “sweetest sound” was the handcuffs clicking on Raja’s wrist after the verdict. Palm Beach Gardens police had fired Raja just days after the initial conflict and has been under house arrest since 2016. Raja was the first office to be convicted of an on duty shooting in Florida in the past 30 years. 

Shootings by police officers are being reported on more and more now these days. It's hard to read the news on any day and not hear of police wrongfully shooting unarmed people, and even more specifically African-American men. Raja's sentencing and guilty verdict are a small step in the right direction to right this so obvious wrong in our society. Raja's sentencing shows that discrimination will not be tolerated in our society moving forward. Under the saddest of circumstances, our society is moving forward and righting the morally wrong the it holds within it.