Palm Beach News

Corey Jones: Palm Beach Police Union President Says Gardens Police Not Being Transparent Over Shooting

On Monday, news broke of the shooting death of 31-year-old Corey Jones. Jones, a well-known black local musician, was reportedly shot by a by a Palm Beach Gardens Police officer on Sunday evening. On Monday, Palm Beach Gardens Police identified the officer as Nouman Raja and said in a new release that he was in plainclothes at the time of the shooting.

But the police department has not released much more information than that, and now the president of the Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association is calling the department out on its lack of transparency regarding the case.

"You don't want another Ferguson, where they sat on information for days," Union President John Kazanjian told WPTV. "It seems like this is what Gardens is doing. You need to get out there and address the public. Chief, get out there and address the public on some issues."

According to the police department, Raja was on duty late Sunday night, around 3:15 a.m., when he stopped to investigate what looked to him like an abandoned car on the southbound exit ramp of I-95 and PGA Boulevard. Police say when Raja exited his unmarked vehicle, he was "suddenly confronted by an armed subject."

The subject, they say, was Jones. Raja opened fire during the confrontation, killing Jones, according to police. 

"Per department policy, the officer is currently on paid administrative leave, and an independent investigation is being conducted by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office," Palm Beach Gardens Police said, regarding more information on the incident. "No additional information at this time."

Meanwhile, there are more questions than answers regarding the shooting. Friends and family have begun a #Justice4Corey hashtag to raise awareness of the shooting death of a man they call "gentle," "humble," and "professional."

"He was my fellow drummer friend. I've known him for years," Brandon Ciggs, a Palm Beached-based musician who was close with Jones, told New Times on Monday. "He would be the first person I would call to fill in for me if I couldn't make a gig. He was always humble and responsible. He was very professional with showing up on time, learning the music, things of that sort. He was just a cool, humble person. He'd give you his last shirt off his back if he could do it. He was that type of person."

Strangely, the Palm Beach Gardens Police posted the news release regarding Jones' shooting on its Facebook on Monday. But after receiving numerous comments questioning the way it was handling the case, the page went offline completely.

It was later restored, but without the news release posted. The original web page where the release was posted is a dead link.

The police department says it took down the post because the comments had begun to get filled with racist language

Jones' family told the Palm Beach Post that Jones owned a gun and had a permit and is claiming that it's been unable to get information on the investigation from the Palm Beach Gardens Police.

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph