The South Florida cop who was criminally charged for shooting and killing a stranded motorist on the side of the road tried to get his case thrown out by using the state’s “stand your ground” defense, which is what enabled George Zimmerman to be acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin.
But evidence against former Palm Beach Gardens police officer Nouman Raja indicates he was the aggressor when he shot and killed Corey Jones three years ago.
So a judge denied his motion to dismiss, meaning Raja is still facing manslaughter and attempted murder charges.
In her 27-page ruling filed June 1, Circuit Judge Samantha Schosberg Feuer wrote that Raja’s version of the events leading up the shooting was “unreliable and not credible” based on evidence submitted to the court.
The incident took place around 3 a.m. on October 8, 2015 after Jones’ van left him stranded on the side of I-95.
Jones, a 31-year-old church musician and housing inspector, had his legally owned handgun with him. He was on the phone with roadside assistance when Raja pulled up in an unmarked van wearing plainclothes.
Raja claimed that he identified himself as an officer, but audio released by the F.B.I. of Jones speaking to roadside assistance of the interaction shows a different scenario.
Or if Raja did identify himself as an officer, Jones did not understand him. The conversation on the recording is transcribed below after Raja said something inaudible, prompting Jones to question what he had just said.
JONES: “NO, I’M GOOD. YEAH, I’M GOOD.”
DEFENDANT: “GET YOUR FUCKIN’ HANDS UP! GET YOUR FUCKIN’ HANDS UP!”
JONES: “HOLD ON.”
DEFENDANT: “GET YOUR FUCKIN’ HANDS UP! DROP.” (THREE GUNSHOTS HEARD) (CAR DOOR OPEN BELL HEARD) DEFENDANT: “DROP IT!” (THREE GUNSHOTS HEARD)
According to Raja, he fired his first shots while on the phone with 911, but according to the audio, the first round of shots happened 33-seconds before the call.
Also according to Raja, Jones held the gun in his right hand, but according to family Jones is left handed.
Less than a month later, Raja was terminated.
Stand your ground can apply to cases “if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary” to prevent “imminent death or great bodily harm, ” but evidence points to the contrary.
Judge Feuer wrote, “two of the three wounds entered through the back side of Jones, consistent with someone who is running away from the shooter.”
The denial of Raja’s motion was met with approval from Jones’ friends and family.
Michael C. Marsh, after hearing about the update and asked him his thoughts on the news.
“The data is out there that we don’t arrest cops, and when we do we surely don’t convict them,” said Michael C. Marsh, who was the victim’s friend.
“Though it’s a small victory, it’s not a huge win.”
Raja’s attorneys vowed to appeal the decision, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.