The Latest: Ex-officer at sentencing in motorist’s death
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on the sentencing of a former Florida police officer in the fatal shooting of a black motorist (all times local):
A former Florida police officer has appeared before a packed courtroom for sentencing in the fatal shooting of a stranded black motorist.
Judge Joseph Marx presided over Thursday’s sentencing of fired Palm Beach Gardens officer Nouman Raja in the 2015 death of 31-year-old Corey Jones.
Raja was convicted last month of manslaughter and attempted murder. He faces the possibility of 25 years to life in prison.
The victim’s father, Clinton Jones Sr., asked the judge for a life sentence, saying that wasn’t out of hatred but because of the pain caused to Jones’ family.
The 41-year-old officer was in plain clothes and driving an unmarked van when he confronted Jones, a black drummer whose SUV had broken down as he returned from a late-night performance. Prosecutors persuaded jurors Raja never identified himself as a police officer and acted aggressively, causing Jones to pull his legal handgun thinking he was being robbed. The altercation was audio recorded by a tow-truck dispatcher Jones had been talking with.
For the first time in nearly 30 years, a Florida police officer is set to be sentenced to prison Thursday for an on-duty fatal shooting — and he could be going away for life.
Former Palm Beach Gardens officer Nouman Raja faces a minimum of 25 years and Circuit Judge Joseph Marx could give him a life sentence for the 2015 shooting of Corey Jones, a 31-year-old African-American drummer whose SUV had broken down on an interstate early on a Sunday morning.
Raja, 41, was convicted last month of manslaughter and attempted first-degree murder for Jones’ death. Prosecutors said Raja, one of few police officers nationwide convicted of an on-duty shooting, escalated what should have been a routine interaction into a deadly confrontation.