From [HERE] A police officer in Florida was sentenced Thursday to 25 years in prison for fatally shooting a black man who had been awaiting help on a highway more than three years ago.
“This has been a heartbreaking case,” Judge Joseph Marx, who is white, said in sentencing the officer, Nouman K. Raja, for the two counts a jury found him guilty of last month: manslaughter by culpable negligence and attempted first-degree murder with a firearm.
Mr. Raja, 41, who had faced a maximum penalty of life in prison in the fatal shooting of Corey Jones, received a 25-year term for each count. The sentences will be served concurrently.
In asking the judge to hand down the maximum sentence, Adrienne Ellis, the chief assistant state’s attorney, said that Mr. Jones, 31, “had done nothing wrong that night.”.
“He did everything right, and yet, he still lost his life,” she said. “Corey essentially begged the defendant not to kill him.”
Richard G. Lubin, who oversaw Mr. Raja’s defense team, asked the judge to sentence Mr. Raja only on the manslaughter count and not on the attempted first-degree murder charge.
He said that it was difficult for his client to receive a fair trial, because people “have stoked the narrative that this is another case about a white cop murdering a black man.”
“He doesn’t have a prejudiced bone in his body,” Mr. Lubin said of Mr. Raja, who is of Asian descent. “He himself has had a lifetime of suffering prejudice because of his race.”
Raja was charged with manslaughter and attempted murder for shooting 31-year-old Corey Jones, a drummer who was returning home from a performance when his SUV broke down on Interstate 95 before dawn in October 2015. Raja was fired after the shooting.
Raja was not in uniform and never identified himself as a police officer before opening fire on the motorist, prosecutors said — a direct contradiction to the arrested officer’s story. An audio recording shows that the cop lied over and over about what happened.
Audio reveals the officer, who was investigating car burglaries, was immediately aggressive with Jones and began barking commands at him without ever saying he was with the force.
Jones was leaving a late-night gig on Oct. 18, 2015 when his car broke down on the side of I-95. The 31-year-old musician called AT&T roadside assistance for help, and the call was still connected when Raja, who is of South Asian descent, exited an unmarked white van and approached the stalled car.
That recording captured the exchange between the two men.
“You good?” Raja, dressed in a T-shirt and jeans, asked.
Jones said he was fine, prompting Raja to ask “Really?”
“Yeah,” Jones replied, according to the audio.
Suddenly, Raja became belligerent, and started yelling at Jones.
“Get your f-----g hands up! Get your f-----g hands up!” he shouted as Jones pleaded “hold on, hold on!”
“Get your f-----g hands up! Drop!” Raja screamed again before firing two shots, prosecutors said.
Jones began running down an embankment and into the grass as Raja fired several more shots, killing him. Jones' unfired gun was found about 75 feet from his SUV. Jones' body was found another 125 feet away.
In a 911 call that prosecutors say Raja placed about 30 seconds later, the officer yelled for Jones to drop his gun — even though they say he knew Jones had been hit and was dying on the ground. Jones had a permit for the weapon.
But about four hours after the shooting, Raja voluntarily sat down with a Palm Beach County sheriff's detective and recounted the shooting.
He claimed that he walked up to Jones’ van thinking it had been abandoned, and he was surprised to find Jones inside.
"The door swung open and, uh, this guy jumps outside immediately," Raja told the investigator. "He got out of the van and then he's like, 'I'm OK, I'm OK man.' And at which point I said, 'Hey, man, police, can I help you?'”
Raja claimed that when he identified himself as a cop, Jones became violent.
“And the second I said police, he jumped back and I clearly remember him drawing and...pointing a gun at me,” he said. "It's just like, you know, your family flashed in front of you, your kids flashed in front of you.”
He said he ordered Jones to drop the gun and then fired when he didn't. [MORE]
The jury did not find the cop credible. The jury found that Mr. Raja fired shots even as Mr. Jones fled. Within moments of making his approach, Mr. Raja had fired six shots and struck Mr. Jones three times, killing him. [MORE]
According to the Miami Herald, the last time an officer was sentenced for an on-duty killing in Florida was 1989.