The Supicious Death Of Corey Jones At The Hands Of A Palm Beach Gardens Cop

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Church drummer Corey Jones

On July 16, 2009, Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates, as he was being wrongfully arrested at his home, by Cambridge Police Officer Sgt. James Crowley, reportedly said “Is this how you treat a Black man in America?”

Ironically, the treatment Professor Gates received pales in comparison to the brutal behavior most other Black men face—with some losing their lives in encounters with police.

To be a Black man in America means death can come at any time, unannounced—even by the hands of those who supposedly took an oath to “protect and serve.”

Was the shooting death of Florida resident Corey Jones yet another example of a Black man being killed by police prejudice?

Early Sunday morning, 31-year-old Corey Jones, a church drummer, was shot to death by plain-clothes Officer Nouman Raja, of the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department, along an Interstate 95 exit ramp. Jones had experienced car trouble and had pulled off the road. Mr. Jones had apparently been going home from a music gig—and was expected to be in church later that Sunday.

According to the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department, Officer Raja stopped to investigate what he though was an abandoned car but was “suddenly confronted by an armed suspect” and that “as a result of the confrontation, the officer discharged his firearm resulting in the death of the subject, Corey Jones.”

Something smells very fishy here.

For starters, even the local police union president is criticizing the police chief, and brass, for their mishandling so far of this investigation—where the Palm Beach Garden Police leaders have not been very forthcoming on what happened in this case.

“We don’t want another Ferguson,” said Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association President John Kazanjian. “They need to get out there and address the public…chief, get out there and tell the public what is going on.”

No doubt, as a result of this criticism, Palm Beach Police Chief Stephen Stepp held an abrupt press conference on Tuesday night. Unfortunately, the brief statement of Chief Stepp focused more on the fact that Mr. Jones had bought a gun three days before his death than on the details of why Officer Raja fired his gun.

The chief’s statement relating to the purchase of a gun by Jones is obviously the police’s way of validating the story of this officer—and insinuating that Jones meant to harm the officer.

But there are many questions to be answered here.

That the Palm Beach Police Department seems unwilling to be fully transparent about why Officer Raja shot Mr. Jones isn’t surprising—since, police also claimed that it would, supposedly take several months to finish the investigation. Why should it take that long to investigate? This sounds like the kind of tricky talk police use while they are in full cover-up mode.

The Palm Beach County Police press release hints at this. For example, why did they decide to use the phrase “armed suspect.” What was Jones suspected of? Reportedly, Officer Raja had been recently investigating robberies in that area.

Reportedly, Raja was patrolling in plainclothes—in an unmarked car. In the press release, we were told this officer was “suddenly confronted.” If this is true, it would suggest Raja never saw Jones, when he exited his vehicle, and in fact they said the officer though he was looking at an abandoned car.

It that is case, it is then clear Officer Raja never identified himself as police, since he would not have known someone was present. It would be equally true that Mr. Jones also never knew he was being confronted by a law enforcement officer—their own press release tells us this. That is, assuming, we’re being told the full story.

But are we?

On Thursday, it was reported by the family that Corey Jones was shot at six times—with three of the bullets hitting him. But the bombshell allegation is that he died some 80 to 100 feet from his car—and, at some point, had tried to run away, something that brings back horrible memories of the manner in which Walter Scott was killed by Officer Michael Slager, in South Carolina.

The other interesting claim, from Thursday, is that Jones gun—bought legally, and for which he had a concealed permit—was not found next to his dead body. This allegation, if found to be factual, would seriousl bring into question the police claim that Officer Raja shot Jones because he was “suddenly confronted” by a supposedly “armed suspect,” as police assert.

These new claims make the autopsy findings essentially important. We now need to know where, on his body, was Jones hit by these three shots? Moreover, an independent autopsy should be done here as well.

The Palm Beach Police Department have said Officer Raja was “suddenly confronted by an armed subject.” Are we to believe Corey Jones pulled a gun—on someone he most surely didn’t know was a police officer—but then ran away without his gun only to be killed 80 to 100 feet from his car, and gun?

Given their scenario, are we to believe he didn’t even fire his legal gun once?

It is fast becoming clear Corey Jones died not knowing the person who was about to kill him was someone who should’ve been there to help him in his time of need. The “I feared for my life” alibi will be used by this officer to escape any responsibility for the innocent life he took. Somehow, once this excuse is interjected, when a cop kills a Black person, this is usually more than enough to exonerate that police officer.

Change in the way police departments in America operate, especially with respect to institutional racism, is sorely needed. More activist agitation is surely needed before we can expect any real change. Congress continues to engage in meaningless grandstanding exercises, while important issues are ignored.

On Thursday, Congress grilled former First Lady and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for around 12 hours in their latest Benghazi fiasco. Republicans pretend they want to get to the bottom of why four Americans died in the 2012 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi. They say the families deserve the truth about what happened.

Don’t those families who lost loved ones like Corey Jones, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice and so many others also deserve the truth, about why their love ones were unjustly killed by police? Congress has spent around $4 million on their politically motivated partisan Benghazi witch-hunt. There are real question to ask about the Libyan invasion—but Republicans don’t have the moral high ground to ask those questions.

They pretend to care about the four Americans who lost their lives in that attack. But somehow they don’t give a damn about all the dead Black Americans losing their lives by the hands of those who took an oath “to protect and serve.”

The suspicious death of Corey Jones is the latest example of the devalued state of Black lives in America. The Palm Beach Police Department appears to be covering up what they know about the death of this Black man.

But the killings of Blacks is taken as no big deal by those who pretend to believe in the “sanctity of life” to borrow the phony rhetoric of Republicans—including those who are running for president in 2016.



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