From [HERE] A Florida cop charged in the fatal shooting of a black musician whose car had broken down on the interstate never identified himself as a police officer before opening fire on the motorist, prosecutors said — a direct contradiction to the arrested officer’s story.
Former Palm Beach Gardens officer Nouman Raja — who has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter charges for allegedly killing drummer Corey Jones in 2015 — claimed hours after the shooting that the broken-down driver pointed a gun at him after he identified himself as a cop.
But new evidence, released Tuesday, indicated that the 39-year-old plainclothes 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 — released in the evidence dump — 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’ family said he had recently purchased the gun to protect the expensive drum gear in his vehicle's trunk and 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.
Raja was fired shortly after the shooting. Jones' family is suing him and the Palm Beach Gardens police.
A court hearing is set for Feb. 21. There, a date for Raja's criminal trial could be scheduled.