Family calls on prosecutors to file charges against officer accused of shooting Corey Jones
Nouman Raja fired from Palm Beach Gardens Police Department
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Attorneys, ministers, elected officials and Corey Jones' family stood outside the steps leading to the State Attorney's Office Thursday in West Palm Beach to question why charges haven't been brought against a former Palm Beach Gardens officer accused of shooting Jones last year.
Jones' grandfather said they'll push prosecutors until charges are filed against Nouman Raja.
"Why should he go free?" Sylvester Banks Sr. said. "Why'd it take this long to do what's right?"
Police said Jones, 31, was stranded on the side of I-95 in Palm Beach Gardens on Oct. 18 when he was approached by Raja, who was not in his uniform and was not carrying his badge.
"It brings a lot of sorrow. I'm angry," Jones' aunt, Gale Banks Allen, said.
The group held hands and prayed together while calling for action and for answers.
"The answer I have to it is arrest him, try him and put him in jail. That's my answer," Banks Allen said.
Police said Raja shot Jones three times.
According to investigators, Jones had a gun on him, but never fired it.
"He was taken away too soon," Banks Allen said. "I'm sick of the police killing our kids. I'm done with that."
Raja was fired by the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department, but he has not been charged in the case.
The FBI and Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office are also involved in the investigation along with the State Attorney's Office.
Their last update came last month when prosecutors said more than 100 witnesses were still being interviewed.
"It is in the interests of justice that all evidence is available before the State can act," State Attorney Dave Aronberg said in a statement Thursday. "I understand the frustration with the length of time it can take to conduct a thorough and detailed investigation into an officer-involved shooting. I appreciate the community's patience as all investigating agencies complete their work."
"Why would it take so long?" Banks said. "Why would it take so long to judge a situation -- to judge a case that is up before you. You know you could do better."
Aronberg maintains that his office and the FBI and Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office are still interviewing potential witnesses, speaking to experts and "continuing the forensic testing of DNA, fingerprints, crime scene analysis and ballistics."
Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill Thursday that was inspired by the shooting death of Jones, which requires agencies to have policies and procedures for using body cameras.
Jones' family released a statement Thursday, saying that they were pleased with the passing of the bill into law.
"While the law does not mandate the use of body cameras, it does require police departments who use body cameras, to develop standards for the use of those cameras in addition to regulating how audio and video files are stored," the statement said. "Our family strongly supports the use of body cameras as a tool to re-establish the public trust in the police. As we await the result of the State Attorney's investigation into the tragic death of our Corey, we believe that good policies in place, such as FL HB-93, will help promote police accountability and citizen safety. We thank Florida Representative Shevrin Jones for his valiant effort to get this bill passed, and for standing with our family during this most difficult time."
Raja was not wearing a body camera at the time of the shooting.
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