Trending Topics

Florida City Awards $2M Settlement to Family of Black Church Drummer Killed By Cop After His SUV Broke Down: ‘He Did Everything Right’

The family of a Black man who was killed by a police officer in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, in 2015 reached a $2 million settlement with the city on Feb. 23.

Corey Jones reportedly was killed on an interstate exit ramp by the officer after his SUV broke down.

Palm Beach Gardens police officer Nouman Raja shot and killed 31-year-old Jones at approximately 3:15 a.m. on Oct. 18, 2015, after seeing his SUV stalled on the exit ramp on an I-95 exit ramp and PGA Boulevard. The housing inspector and church drummer was on his way home from playing a gig with his reggae band.

Corey Jones
Corey Jones was shot by former Palm Beach Gardens police officer Nouman Raja on Oct. 18, 2015, on an exit ramp on I-95 and PGA Boulevard after his SUV broke down. (Photo: CBS12 News/YouTube)

Jones carried a handgun and was authorized to carry a concealed weapon. He bought the firearm to protect his drum set worth $10,000, which he had in his vehicle when he was approached by Raja.

Raja worked for the city’s auto burglary investigation team and wore plain clothes but was told to wear his police vest if he ever approached a civilian, which in this instance he reportedly didn’t do. Raja was wearing a baseball hat, jeans and a T-shirt when he approached Jones by driving an unmarked van up the exit ramp in the wrong direction.

Raja did not verbally identify himself nor did he show Jones his badge when he pulled his van up to Jones’ vehicle. The prosecutor said that Raja acted in such an aggressive manner, Jones must have thought he was about to be killed or robbed when he reached for his handgun as Raja opened fire multiple times.

Jones had been talking to a tow truck dispatcher on a recorded line. The dispatcher recorded him saying to Raja as he opened his door, “Huh?”

Raja yelled, “You good?” and Jones replied that he was. Raja twice asked him, “Really?”

Raja then yelled for Jones to raise his hands while using an expletive. According to prosecutors, Jones pulled his gun and tried to run away while Raja fired three shots at him as he ran down an embankment and threw his gun. Raja then fired three more times at Jones, who was ultimately shot once in each arm and through his heart.

Raja claimed that Jones pulled his gun on him first. However, audio recording of the shooting death indicated that Raja instigated an altercation. Jones’ gun was found approximately 125 feet away from his body, and the gun had not been fired.

The city released a statement on Feb. 23 announcing the settlement after having mediation with the Jones family. The $2 million settlement is for the maximum amount covered by Palm Beach Gardens’ insurance policy. According to the city, the insurance carrier first offered to pay the same amount in 2016.

Mayor Chelsea Reed released a statement following news of the settlement.

“We remain sorrowful that the criminal actions of Officer Raja led to the senseless death of Corey Jones,” said Reed. “Although we cannot undo this tragic loss, it is our sincere hope that this settlement will aid in the continued healing of the family and our communities.”

Raja was convicted of attempted murder and manslaughter in 2019 and is currently in prison serving a 25-year sentence for Jones’ death.

According to 7News Miami, Raja, who is Asian, is the first law enforcement agent in the state of Florida to be convicted and sentenced to prison for an on-duty killing in almost 30 years.

Chief assistant state attorney Adrienne Ellis said at Raja’s sentencing hearing that Jones did nothing wrong.

“Corey Jones did nothing wrong,” said Ellis. “He did everything right, and still, he lost his life.”

Back to top