MIAMI, FLORIDA — Corey Jones, a licensed concealed carrier, was shot three times by a plainclothes police officer driving in an unmarked vehicle in the early morning as he waited for a tow truck to recover his broken-down vehicle. That much is known. The details as to the police officer’s rationale seem as bizarre as the event itself. According to the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department statements, Officer Nouman Raja, 38, pulled up behind what he thought was an abandoned vehicle and encountered Jones who was waving his gun around.
via the Guardian
“As the officer exited his vehicle, he was suddenly confronted by an armed subject,” Stephen Stepp [Chief of Police, Palm Beach Gardens Police Department] said. “As a result of the confrontation, the officer discharged his firearm, resulting in the death of Mr Corey Jones.”
Jones’ family refutes these allegations, stating their son was a church-organist for their church and enjoyed playing drums with a touring church band. Benjamin Crump, the attorney representing this case, makes a very good claim as to why Jones may have been suspicious of the approaching plainclothes officer in an unmarked vehicle.
“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,” said attorney Benjamin Crump in an emotional statement outside the courthouse.
That’s a very good question — what would you do if you were broken down on the side of the road at 3 am and you saw a white van with tinted windows roll up behind your vehicle right outside Miami?
I can tell you, as a concealed carrier who uses situational awareness on a daily basis to make threat assessments, I would be overly suspicious of that vehicle and the person who got out of it.
There is a lot in terms of rampant speculation over the officer’s motives.
Certainly, there was no way for Jones to know that the officer was who he said he was — if the officer even went that far. From the report, it looks like the officer wasted no time putting three rounds in Corey Jones. If he was in uniform, had a marked vehicle, there would have been at least some indication for Jones to determine the presence of law enforcement. Otherwise, it would literally look like an armed man approaching him in the early morning hours, on the side of the highway — something I think any concealed carrier would naturally be defensive about.
…And this wasn’t Officer Raja’s first allegation of purposefully mishandling a case.
via the Guardian
[Officer] Raja previously had been reprimanded by his commanders at a different police department for being “derelict in the performance of his duties” by repeatedly mishandling evidence and paperwork, according to his disciplinary file. He was found holding on to prescription drugs that he seized from a suspect and threatened with suspension.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is personally investigating Raja’s actions and the police department he works for presently. Raja is on paid administrative leave pending results of the investigation.
While the case is expected to take some time before it is concluded, initial autopsy reveals that Jones had attempted to flee after being critically shot. He made it about 80 to 100 feet before collapsing and dying at the scene.
As a concealed carrier, what would have you done differently?