Trial of former Palm Beach Gardens officer Nouman Raja in the shooting death of Corey Jones



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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Opening statements are expected on Tuesday in the trial of a police officer dismissed from the Florida police accused of shooting a stuck black motorist in 2015.

Prosecutors are supposed to inform the jury of four men and two women

The actions of this former Palm Beach Gardens police officer, Nouman Raja, caused 31-year-old corey Jones to be confused and shot at him.

Raja was working in plainclothes when he drove his unmarked white van the wrong way on a dark highway off the Interstate 95. Prosecutors say that a soundtrack shows that Raja, 41, never identified himself as a police officer.

Raja's lawyers are supposed to assert that he has identified himself and that he shot Jones in self-defense. Raja, who is of South Asian descent, could be sentenced to life imprisonment if he is found guilty of manslaughter and attempted murder.

This is the first time in 26 years that a Florida police officer is on trial for a murder on duty and one of Raja's defenses will be the controversial state law. "Stay firm". He says that anyone with a legitimate fear of imminent danger can resort to lethal force. The law also says that it is up to prosecutors to prove that the fear of the person was absent or unreasonable, but the shooter can not be the aggressor.

Jones, a part-time drummer who also worked as a home inspector, was returning home after a night out at a club early in the morning of October 18, 2015, when his SUV broke down on a freeway exit. I-95. valued at $ 10,000, were at the back. Jones, the brother of C.J. Jones, a former National Football League player, had just bought a 38-gauge handgun to protect himself and had a concealed weapons license.

Raja saw Jones' SUV around 3:15 pm He was wearing jeans, a t-shirt and a baseball cap because he was investigating burglaries. At the hearing, his sergeant stated that he had ordered Raja to don a vest with the inscription "police" when he showed up, but the vest was found at the Inside the unmarked van.

Raja took the exit ramp, blocking Jones' SUV. He told the Palm Beach County sheriff's investigators that when Jones was out he identified himself, but was later fired because Jones shot a gun. He said that Jones had descended an embankment and again pointed the gun, so he had fired more shots. Jones died on the scene.

The investigators said that Raja did not know that Jones was talking to a tow truck dispatcher on a registered line. Raja is never heard to identify.

Jones is heard first saying, "Huh?" just before Raja screams, "Are you good?" Jones says that he is. Raja answers twice: "Really?" with Jones answering "Yeah".

Suddenly, Raja yells at Jones to raise his hands using an expletive. Jones answers "Wait!" and Raja repeats his request. Prosecutors think that's when Jones took out his gun. Raja fired three shots. Ten seconds later, Raja fired three more shots.

Prosecutors say that Raja saw Jones throw his gun but continued shooting, which is why he is accused of attempted murder. The investigators were unable to determine when the fatal shot was fired, but Jones was hit in the back.

Raja then used his personal cell phone to call 911, with the operator taking over 33 seconds after the last shot. Raja is registered shouting at orders to give up the gun; Prosecutors say that he was trying to deceive the investigators into believing that he had not seen the weapon launched. Jones' body was found 60 meters from the SUV and 38 meters from his gun.

Palm Beach Gardens fired Raja, who was on probation after being transferred a few months earlier from a nearby town. Accused in 2016, he was under house arrest.

The last Florida officer sued for a murder in service is William Lozano of Miami. The Hispanic officer shot and killed a black motorcyclist who, he said, had attempted to hit him in 1989. A passenger died as a result of the crash of the motorcycle. The deaths resulted in three days of riots.

Lozano was convicted of two counts of manslaughter at a trial in Miami later in the year, but a court of appeal overturned the verdict, stating that the case should have been moved because of racial tensions. Lozano was acquitted at a new trial in 1993 in Orlando.

Raja's trial is expected to last two to three weeks.

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