Update: Corey Jones's family has released a statement following the termination of Officer Raja from the Palm Beach Gardens PD:
“While we are pleased that the city of Palm Beach Gardens has terminated the employment of the officer who gunned down Corey Jones, we maintain that the officer in question also must be held criminally liable for his reckless actions that night. Our family remains hopeful that the outside agencies brought in to investigate Corey's killing will soon begin to yield factual information about how and why this officer acted so callously. Through all of the sorrow and pain that accompanied Corey's death, our family is encouraged by the multitude of well-wishers who have reached out to us during this difficult time. It is obvious that Corey touched many lives and for that we will be forever grateful.”
"The independent criminal investigation into the Officer-Involved Shooting that occurred on October 18,
Jones, a well-known black local musician, was shot and killed by Raja last month.
According to the original police report, Raja, who was not in uniform, was on duty October 18 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."
Jones' car, it turns out, had stalled out on him, and he was calling assistance for help.
According to the police department's original report, Raja discharged his firearm after the altercation, resulting in Jones' death. Corey's own gun was found at the scene. But police have not said whether he fired his gun.
Jones' family's lawyer, Benjamin Crump, claims that, according to Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg, Jones never fired his weapon that night, while he himself was shot at several times.
"He never fired his gun," Crump said. "The officer fired six times."
Crump has also said Jones was shot at his car. He then ran to safety, where he was shot again from behind.
Raja, age 38, has worked for the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department for six months. According to a report in the New York Times, Raja never disclosed to the PBGPD when he applied there that he had been reprimanded at his last job as a cop in Atlantis, Florida, when he failed to turn over morphine he had seized from a suspect.
Raja never wrote a report, nor did he turn in the evidence, according to an Atlantis Police internal affairs file. In a report, Raja said he failed to turn in the morphine due to "work-related issues" and failed to file other reports as well. He was reprimanded but did not say so in his job application, though the PBGPD requires one to do so. He did mention that he was once reprimanded for violating procedures by opening a residential community’s gates before security guards arrived, but he never mentioned the morphine incident.
Raja also reportedly worked off-duty hours for Black Dove Arms. The group apparently markets heavy machine guns and rifles.
Days following Jones' death, Aronberg announced that his office was conducting an independent investigation. The Palm Beach Sheriff's Office is also conducting its own investigation.
"We intend to fulfill our responsibilities of fairness and transparency under the law and to the community," Aronberg said last month.
Gov. Rick Scott's office has offered Aronberg assistance in the investigation. The FBI also announced that it is aiding in the investigation.
Jones' family, meanwhile, says they're still awaiting the results of the investigation.
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.