Home News Corey Jones shooting: Police union blasts Gardens PD for lack of details

Corey Jones shooting: Police union blasts Gardens PD for lack of details

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Oct. 20–The head of the county’s largest police union blasted Palm Beach Gardens police leadership today for their silence over the Sunday killing of drummer Corey Jones as the story gains national attention.

John Kazanjian, president of the Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association, said officer Nouman Raja, who killed Jones after the man’s car broke down on a freeway off-ramp, has been getting death threats.

“Them being silent is causing inferences to be made about one of our officers. They need to come out and be transparent,” Kazanjian said. “I don’t know what they’re doing. I really don’t know.”

Palm Beach Gardens officials have said nothing since releasing a brief statement Monday, even as national media have latched on to the story, the latest killing of a young black man by a police officer.

Jones’ family today hired noted Tallahassee-based civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who represented the family of Trayvon Martin, the man killed on Feb. 26, 2012 by George Zimmerman. Crump also represented the family of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African-American man killed last year in Ferguson, Mo.

Jones was shot to death by Raja 3:15 a.m., Sunday after his vehicle broke down on the Interstate 95 southbound exit ramp to PGA Boulevard. Jones, a drummer for a church and a band, was driving back from a gig in Jupiter, friends said.

Raja, who was not in uniform and was driving an unmarked vehicle, was on duty working surveillance when he confronted Jones, police said. According to a source with knowledge of the incident, Jones possibly didn’t know Raja was an officer.

There has been massive outpouring for Jones, 31, a drummer in the band Future Prezidents who was the son of a minister and grandson of a bishop. He worked for eight years as an inspector at the Delray Beach Housing Authority. His only run-in with the law in Florida is a 2007 arrest in Miami Beach on a charge of carrying a concealed firearm and carrying a concealed weapon, charges that prosecutors didn’t pursue.

His brother is C.J. Jones, a former NFL player, and both men were close friends of current NFL nose tackle Vince Wilfork.

Wilfork, who played for the New England Patriots for 11 years before signing with the Houston Texans this year, commented on Corey Jones’ death on Twitter this morning, saying he knew Corey Jones all his life as a “stand up guy.”

Wilfork, who played for the University of Miami before he was drafted in 2004, graduated from Santaluces High School in Boynton Beach, Corey Jones’ alma mater, family members told The Palm Beach Post. Corey Jones also played football at Santaluces.

Raja, 38, has been an officer since 2008. He started his career at the tiny Atlantis Police Department, which patrols just 1,200 homes.

He’s also an adjunct instructor at Palm Beach State College, the county’s main police academy. He’s scheduled to teach four classes this fall, including “Interactions in a Diverse Community.”

Kazanjian said Raja is “hanging in there” despite getting death threats.

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