Family holds funeral for Florida man killed by plainclothes officer

31 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Cop Who Shot Corey Jones Wasn’t Qualified For Undercover.

The top prosecutor in the investigation of a plainclothes police officer’s fatal shooting of a black musician confirmed that the victim did not fire any shots.

The killing of Corey Jones has put the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department under intense scrutiny and raises questions about whether it fits a pattern of unjustified police killings of black men nationwide. Jones’ death, the latest in a string of fatal incidents in the United States involving police and black men, has sparked calls for greater transparency after the local sheriff’s office released few details following the shooting. But as to any suggestion of systemic racism within the department, the chief points to extensive training requirements, policies against racial profiling and bias and community outreach to strengthen ties between public and police. On the night of the incident, Jones was driving home after playing with his band when his vehicle broke down near a highway exit ramp in Boynton Beach around 3:15 a.m., reported WPBF.

The department, to maintain its long-time state and international accreditation, even keeps data on the racial breakdown of drivers it pulls over, who gets tickets and who gets off with warnings, Stepp points out. A confrontation ensued and Raja, who is of South Asian descent, fired six shots hitting the 31-year-old Jones three times, according to the state attorney’s office. As the chief often points out, because of the city’s shopping areas, employment centers, restaurants and the two interstates that traverse it, the city population swells to 100,000 or 150,000 on any given day.

Jones was in possession of a legally purchased handgun when the shooting occurred but he also had a concealed weapons permit, according to Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg. Melissa Jones said that Corey needed the gun for protection because he carried expensive drum equipment and was often out at late hours playing music gigs.

Ruthie White, director of Internship and career services at Florida A&M University’s School of Journalism and Graphic Communication, was also a special guest speaker. “The students in SDS reached out to me about helping them host this rally and said they wanted to make sure it was done the right way,” White said. “I feel like students do not use their voices nor do they understand that there is power in numbers.” Regina Joseph, a third-year political science student at FSU, and president of the SDS organization feels that the repetitive nature of police brutality shows the flaw in the system. “The fact that we had to recycle so many of our signs, we’ve had so many rallies against police brutality just shows us how the system does not stop,” Joseph said. For that reason, for statistical purposes the department prefers to consider the county’s racial makeup more representative of its police service population, particularly for traffic stops. Pitts spoke on his thoughts on how we can bring awareness to these issues. “I think it just starts with a conversation two opposing sides can disagree but as long as you’re speaking and walk away learning about the opposing side you both win.”

He has since been placed on administrative leave with pay. “We take this investigation very seriously and as such, we cannot afford to rush, cut corners or appear to be partial,” Aronberg said in an emailed statement. But again, as damning as that looks, far more that just residents populate the city every day, so those numbers regarding blacks and Hispanics aren’t fair to police. Cars often have tinted rear windows and when an officer pulls someone over from behind, it’s impossible to tell the driver’s race or gender, Stepp said.

The Gardens’ Internal Affairs department annually reviews “personnel activities and citizen concerns with the intent of identifying any bias-based profiling issues,” the report said. “The documentation presented to the assessment team showed no trends that would indicate any bias-based policing issues.

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