Special to The Dallas Examiner
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Officer Nouman Raja was convicted of manslaughter and attempted first-degree murder in the shooting death of Corey Jones by a Florida jury, March 7.
Raja’s conviction marks the first time in 30 years that an on-duty officer was convicted in a shooting death case.
Nationally renowned civil rights and personal injury attorney Ben Crump called the recent verdict “historic” and “a victory for justice over police brutality, Stand Your Ground, and implicit bias.”
Jones, a 31-year-old Black man who was a drummer in his church’s band and housing inspector, was killed by Raja on Oct. 16, 2015. The officer, out of uniform and in an unmarked van, killed Jones after the victim’s car stalled on his way home from a gig in Jupiter.
Raja’s attorneys claimed he should be protected by Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, but audio recording revealed that he never identified himself as an officer, leaving Jones to believe that he was being robbed.
“We are honored to celebrate this verdict in the name of Corey Jones, but we celebrate with a heavy heart. Nothing can bring Corey back to his loved ones, but this victory against police brutality, this victory against Stand Your Ground, means Corey did not die in vain,” Crump said. “A man’s life was stolen, but we must remember to keep the beat alive for Corey Jones and for racial injustice that plagues the society we live in today. Although nothing will replace or reverse the death of an innocent man, a guilty verdict is a step in the right direction toward justice and healing. This is a win that will impact the greater good and inspire those who have suffered a similar tragedy.”
Crump and the rest of Jones’ legal team were joined by members of Jones’ family at a news conference March 7 to commend the outcome of this groundbreaking trial.
“The truth will always prevail, regardless of how many bad cops we have, the truth will always prevail, and this is what happened today,” said Jones’ father, Clinton Jones Sr. “It was the truth that convicted him. It was the truth that brought him to justice. It was the truth that sent him to jail. It was the truth that gave us justice for Corey.”
Additional speakers included Jones’ sisters, brother, parents and aunt.
The case – although not the first fatality of a Black civilian at the hands of law enforcement – is significant for its historical conviction of an officer and the local activism it inspired.
Days after Jones’ death, community outrage led to “A Rally for Transparency.” Other peaceful demonstrations included town hall meetings and a holiday season protest at the Gardens Mall. At the Interstate 95 exit ramp where Jones’ car broke down and he was killed, supporters held a “sit in” with a row of cars. Jones’ band is still playing today.
After three and a half years of fighting for justice, Jones’ family and supporters joined together to sing a gospel song, led by Jones’ sister: Victory is mine, victory is mine, victory today is mine.