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$2 Million Settlement for Family of Beloved Musician, Cory Jones, Killed by Florida Cop Now Serving 25 Years for Slaying

by Jo Ellen Nott

On February 23, 2023, the city of Palm Beach Gardens, 77 miles north of Miami, agreed to settle with the family of slain motorist Corey Jones for $2 million dollars. Jones was shot by former police officer Nouman Raja as Jones called for assistance from his broken-down vehicle.

Jones, well loved by the communities of his work, his church, his neighborhood, and fellow musicians, was shot by Raja on the PGA Boulevard ramp on October 18, 2015.  The young Black man, 31 at the time of his death, had been heading home from a gig with his reggae band when his vehicle stalled on the exit ramp from I- 95. Jones was in possession of a concealed carry weapons permit and a legal handgun, which he carried to protect the $10,000 drum set used in his performances.

A federal judge had previously allowed the lawsuit to move forward. The city of Palm Beach Gardens reached the settlement through mediation with the family of Jones eight years after his murder. According to NBC News, the city reported that “the settlement is for the full amount covered by the city’s insurance policy, which the insurance carrier has offered to pay since 2016.”

Former officer Raja was off duty from the burglary investigation team when he saw Jones’ stalled SUV at 3:15 a.m. that fateful night. Raja was wearing jeans and a baseball cap when he drove an unmarked van the wrong way up an off-ramp within feet of Jones’ SUV. In court, prosecutors said Raja never identified himself as an officer and acted so aggressively that Jones pulled a gun on him believing he was about to be carjacked or killed.

Raja had been instructed to put on a police vest if he approached a civilian. He did not follow that policy, nor did he show his badge. Although Raja told investigators he fired after Jones pulled a gun on him, audio from the incident heard by jurors suggested that the undercover cop had provoked the altercation. Raja also lied about the timing of his call to 911. He had already shot Jones through the heart and once in each arm by the time he made the call.

Nouman Raja was convicted of manslaughter and attempted murder on March 7, 2019, and is serving a sentence of 25 years. According to source NBC News, Raja was the first Florida cop in nearly 30 years to be convicted and sentenced for an off-duty killing.

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