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Judge Rejects Palm Beach Officer's Stand Your Ground Claim In Corey Jones Shooting

Corey Jones
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Former Palm Beach Gardens Officer Nouman Raja tried to use Florida's "stand your ground" law to have manslaughter and attempted murder charges against him dismissed. Raja shot and killed Corey Jones, 31, whose car was stranded on the side of the road.

On Friday, Circuit Judge Samantha Schosberg Feuer denied the motion to dismiss.

Khan was in plain clothes and in an unmarked van when he approached Jones and during the Oct. 2015 confrontation shot at him three times. Khan said Jones pointed a gun at him, but prosecutors say Khan never identified himself and shot at Jones as he was running away. The audio of the shooting was captured by a roadside assistance service that Jones had called on his cellphone.

In her ruling, Judge Feuer wrote she found Officer Khan's testimony  to be "unreliable and not credible."

"...It is clear from the call that Jones did not hear Defendant possibly announce himself as a police officer when Defendant got out of his car. Nowhere else in the call can Defendant be heard identifying himself as a police officer nor is there any evidence whatsoever that he ever did," says the ruling

Officer Raja also testified that it appeared that Jones was pointing a gun at him with his right hand. Jones' family says he's left-handed. 

The "stand your ground" filing was controversial in a case already fraught with tension in the local community over how police officers interact with black men and raised question over whether police officers should be able to claim "stand your ground" during an on-duty shooting.

Feuer wrote "stand your ground" immunity is applicable for police officers, however, in this case, she found Raja was negligent in how he approached Jones.

"Regardless of the Defendant’s failure to follow police practices, Defendant Raja acted unreasonably and not as a prudent person under the circumstances and the law and therefore, his Motion for “ Stand Your Ground ” immunity is therefore denied," said Feuer in her ruling. 

You can read the full ruling here: 

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Nadege Greencovers social justice issues for WLRN.