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Seeking Answers on Killing of Church Drummer in Florida

22 Oct

Still a lot of questions about why an off-duty officer in his personal car got into a confrontation with Corey Jones. Jones, from all appearances was an upstanding citizen, doing nothing wrong.

Family seeks answers after black drummer killed by officer

Corey Jones grew up in church, watching his grandfather preach, acting in plays directed by his aunt and watching his uncles play drums. By age 4, he was already banging on the drum set and eventually took over for his uncles. A budding musician, he soon was performing with local bands.

Jones had just left a gig Saturday night in South Florida when his car broke down off Interstate 95 in the affluent community of Palm Beach Gardens. A fellow band member tried unsuccessfully to jumpstart the car, then left the 31-year-old black man to await a tow truck on a dark interstate exit ramp.

That early Sunday morning, Officer Nouman Raja, who had been investigating local burglaries, stopped his unmarked car to check on what he thought was an abandoned vehicle. It was then that Jones was shot.

Palm Beach Gardens Police, through Chief Stephen Stepp, have said little about the fatal shooting, only that Raja was “suddenly confronted by an armed subject” and fatally shot Jones.

It’s unclear what prompted the confrontation. Raja wasn’t in uniform. He was riding in an unmarked car. The drummer’s family thinks it could have been a case of mistaken identity and Jones may have thought he had to defend himself.

“Corey probably got scared,” his uncle Fred Banks said. “He wouldn’t attack anybody.”

Now Banks said the family finds the latest shooting of a black man by an officer has plunged them into the ongoing national debate about police use of force, particularly in cases involving African-Americans.

Jones’ family is being represented by prominent civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump, who also represented the Trayvon Martin family. A rally is planned Thursday at the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department.

The Rev. Al Sharpton said in a statement issued Thursday that he won’t attend Thursday’s rally, but that after talking to Jones’ family and lawyers, he plans to visit the area soon.

“The preliminary facts given by the police to the family are disturbing,” Sharpton said in the news release.

Jones, a graduate of the University of Akron with degrees in business administration and music, was so passionate about drumming that he organized monthly jam sessions where dozens of musicians from all over South Florida would come to the Bible Church of God and play gospel music — and sometimes a little R&B — well into the night. He was a quiet, laid back man who also enjoyed fishing, relatives said.

By day, he worked as a public housing inspector and also mentored at My Brother’s Keeper, an organization for black youth, according to his LinkedIn page.

Jones and his brother, former NFL wide receiver C.J. Jones, were close friends with Pro Bowl defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, long with the New England Patriots and now with the Houston Texans. Wilfork tweeted after Jones’ death that he was “a good dude a standup guy” who was raised in the church.

Relatives stressed that they don’t hate police, but pointed out that Jones was in a vulnerable position in a stranded vehicle, needing help at night. Police are “supposed to be protecting you, but you can’t trust them anymore,” Banks said.

Investigators recovered a handgun on the ground matching a box found in Jones’ car, Stepp said. Records indicate Jones purchased the weapon legally three days earlier. Raja’s car didn’t have a dashboard camera and the department’s officers do not wear body cameras, the chief said.

“It would be premature to say we have all the facts and speculate as to what took place based on unconfirmed accounts,” Stepp told reporters.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has said he offered state agents to assist investigations underway. He hasn’t asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to undertake its own probe.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office is investigating and hasn’t issued any public statements. The state attorney is investigating separately.

“We intend to fulfill our responsibilities of fairness and transparency under the law and to the community,” State Attorney Dave Aronberg said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the local Urban League is asking for Thursday’s rally to be peaceful.

Violence is a rarity in Palm Beach Gardens, a well-to-do community known as the home to tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on October 22, 2015 in BlackLivesMatter

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

6 responses to “Seeking Answers on Killing of Church Drummer in Florida

  1. roderick2012

    October 22, 2015 at 9:23 AM

    The police say they aren’t going to release any details about the investigation yet they held a press conference Tuesday to tell us that Jones purchased a gun three days before the shooting basically to feed into their narrative that Jones pulled the gun on the officer just like Trayvon was violent because he had a picture of a black person holding a gun on his cell phone–see how dumb cops think we are and unfortunately racists will latch onto the fact that Jones actually purchased a gun as proof he must have gotten out of his vehicle and brandished it and that’s why the officer shot him.

    My problem is that I don’t believe that Jones left his vehicle at all.

    Why would he leave his vehicle when he saw a van pull up behind him and he was waiting on a tow truck and his brother to pick him up?

    Why not stay inside your damn vehicle and lock the doors instead of leaving the safety of your vehicle and exposing yourself to someone who may be looking to strip your vehicle?

    I guess they think everyone is George Zimmerman–looking for trouble.

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    • btx3

      October 22, 2015 at 10:07 AM

      As usual, facts are real sparse on the ground when dealing with these sorts of killings by Police.

      Like

       
      • roderick2012

        October 22, 2015 at 10:11 AM

        Except what they feed the public to support their narrative– he bought a gun THREE days before the incident.

        The pigs are making it sound as if he was anxious to use it by mentioning the time between he bought it and the incident.

        They are not that slick.

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      • roderick2012

        October 22, 2015 at 10:32 AM

        btx3: facts are real sparse on the ground when dealing with these sorts of killings by Police

        He who gathers the ‘facts’ gets to write the final history.

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      • btx3

        October 22, 2015 at 12:13 PM

        We have no idea whether the officer identified himself, whether the gun “they found” actually belonged to Jones, or whether the officer was a cowboy type.

        Getting so to have your rights respected you have to have a camera in your car recording and uploading everything – to counter the usual lies.

        So what if he bought a gun three days ago. He wasn’t involved in any criminal activity. Had no criminal record, or they would have plastered that all over the news. And with the number of unarmed folks getting shot by both the cops and the bad guys, it isn’t all that unusual anymore for folks to carry guns. Welcome to the society the gun crazies have fostered.

        I’ve made it though a coup in a Third World Country, been shot at by thugs in another, threatened and survived…

        And here in the right wing gun crazy US of fucking A, I have to carry a damn gun to run out at night to the convenience store to buy some half and half for my morning coffee?

        An yeah – I just bought a gun myself. A little 22 six shooter, single action, with a 5″ barrel which is hell only to the rodent population infesting the back “40” at my country home due to the fruit on the ground from my persimmon and apple trees that the local snakes, hawks, and eagles don’t seem to be able to keep up with. Concealed carry it ain’t.

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  2. roderick2012

    October 22, 2015 at 1:30 PM

    “We have no idea whether the officer identified himself, whether the gun “they found” actually belonged to Jones, or whether the officer was a cowboy type.”

    That’s the part of the story the authorities are leaving out. If I had know about the rally yesterday I would have attended.

    Of course the focus is presenting a narrative where Jones was the aggressor.

    I will be paying attention to when the next rally is scheduled because this sh!t has to stop and people have to stand up for their rights because with Trump and Carson spewing their bigotry there needs to be vocal opposition.

    So what if he bought a gun three days ago. He wasn’t involved in any criminal activity. Had no criminal record, or they would have plastered that all over the news. And with the number of unarmed folks getting shot by both the cops and the bad guys, it isn’t all that unusual anymore for folks to carry guns. Welcome to the society the gun crazies have fostered

    And that’s the point. If a black male is unarmed he turns into The Hulk like Michael Brown or Super Ninja like Trayvon Martin and the right wing always use that line–just because the black male was unarmed doesn’t mean he wasn’t dangerous because to them all blacks are inherently dangerous.

    In this case the black male was armed but he ‘pointed the gun at the officer’?

    So basically we as black males are damned if we do and damned if we don’t, but I am not going to sit back and take this nonsense.

    Like

     

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