The Florida officer who fatally shot a Black musician as he waited for help after his car broke down on the side of the road last month has been fired.
The Palm Beach Gardens Police Department confirmed Nouman Raja’s termination Wednesday, CNN reports. Raja, who was in plainclothes on the night of Oct. 18, shot and killed 31-year-old Corey Jones on the highway.
Jones, a drummer, was returning from playing a gig with his band when his car broke down. While waiting for a tow truck, Jones was approached by Raja in an unmarked car. According to police reports, Raja believed the car was abandoned. Details about what happened next are refuted by Jones’ family members — police said Jones pulled out a gun and a confrontation ensued.
Raja then shot Jones six times, killing him. It was later revealed that Jones was in legal possession of a gun, but he never fired the weapon. His family says the musician would never pull a gun on a police officer.
“We believe Corey went to his grave not knowing if this was a real cop or not,” family attorney Ben Crump said last month.
According to a report released last month, Raja — who just recently joined the police department — was still on probation and therefore unqualified for undercover surveillance work.
Raja was hired in April, and like all new hires in the department, was on a probationary period in which he could be fired for any reason, the city said in a news release, citing its contract with a police union.
The city’s release did not give a reason for Raja’s firing, other than to say the firing was within the city’s rights, and that the city had been “cautiously and methodically considering (Raja’s) employment status.”
John Kazanjian, president of the union that represents the city’s police officers, said Raja was about halfway through the probationary period when the shooting happened. Still, Kazanjian said he was “very disappointed” with Raja’s firing.
“Without any facts of the case or the final investigation, how do you let him go?” Kazanjian said Thursday. He is president of the Palm Beach Police Benevolent Association.
Raja has not yet been charged in the shooting, although a criminal investigation continues.
SOURCE: CNN | VIDEO SOURCE: Inform
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