The former Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, police officer who, in 2019, was convicted of manslaughter and attempted murder for the 2015 shooting death of Black musician Corey Jones tried to appeal his conviction and put an end to his 25-year prison sentence. It was yet another incident where a police officer was overly aggressive when dealing with a Black civilian and that aggression escalated to a very one-sided gun battle that ended in the victim’s death. Fortunately, the Florida supreme court was having none of the killer’s blue nonsense and his appeal was denied.
According to Newsweek, attorneys for Nouman Raja argued that a manslaughter conviction coupled with an attempted murder conviction was contradictory and constituted double jeopardy. In April, Raja’s defense presented the same argument to the Fourth District Court of Appeal, which ruled that the two convictions were for distinct crimes as manslaughter requires a death whereas attempted murder does not. The State Supreme Court agreed.
As previously reported, Raja was in plain clothes while working for a Palm Beach Gardens auto burglary investigation team when he spotted Jones whose SUV had broken down on a highway off-ramp at 3:15 a.m. on October 18, 2015. Jones, who had a conceal-carry permit for the gun he was carrying at the time, had been on the phone with a tow truck dispatcher when Raja confronted him. The phone call was recorded, which was fortunate because Raja was planning to lie his way out of trouble.
Raja claimed that when he saw Jones and his stalled SUV, the first words he said were, “Police, can I help you?” That was the firs lie as the recording captured him asking, without identifying himself as an officer, “You good?”
Jones responded that he was fine to which Raja replied twice in an aggressive tone, “Really?”
Out of nowhere, Raja shouted cursed at Jones while ordering him to raise his hands.
Prosecutors said they believe Jones pulled his gun and tried to run away, prompting Raja to fire three shots. Jones then threw his gun down, according to prosecutors, but Raja continued firing another three shots killing Jones.
Now, Raja’s first lie was probably due to him being unaware Jones was on a recorded call, but his other lies indicate that he just doesn’t know how investigations at crime scenes work.
Raja claimed that Jones leaped backward and pointed his gun, which forced him to fire his first round of shots. Raja tried to explain away his second round of shots, which happened some 10 seconds after the first, was due to Jones running but then turning and pointing his gun at him again. The only problem with that story is Jones’ body was found 200 feet from his SUV and 125 feet away from his gun which had never been fired, according to Newsweek.
Still, the question remains: If Jones’ call to a tow truck service wasn’t recorded, would Raja have been arrested at all?