Family of Corey Jones files Florida wrongful death lawsuit

The family of a man killed by a Florida police officer has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the officer and the city of Palm Beach Gardens.

Corey Jones, a 31-year-old African-American man who was employed as a property manager and played drums in his church, was killed by Palm Beach Gardens police officer Nouman Raja. Jones was waiting for roadside assistance in his stranded vehicle when he was shot.

Jones’ family claims in their lawsuit that the city was negligent in hiring Raja, failed to properly train and supervise him, and had an unofficial policy of allowing excessive force by officers. The lawsuit also alleges that Raja had a “clear pattern” of being disciplined for failure to follow orders.

Dave Aronberg, the Palm Beach County State Attorney, announced in June that a grand jury had determined that the shooting was not justified. Prosecutors charged Raja with first degree attempted murder and manslaughter by culpable negligence. Investigators said that Raja shot Jones before making a 911 call, but Raja is heard on the call yelling at someone to drop a gun. Attorneys for the Jones family said that the 911 tapes show that Raja’s account of the incident is inconsistent with the objective evidence.

The lawsuit was moved to federal court, where the city of Palm Beach Gardens sought to have the suit dismissed. Attorneys for the city claimed that Florida law excludes municipalities from liability for acts committed by its agents while acting outside the scope of their employment or with malicious purpose or bad faith.

Sources

  • http://www.wpbf.com/news/palm-beach-gardens-moves-to-dismiss-federal-wrongful-death-lawsuit-in-corey-jones-case/40800082
  • http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/news/crime-law/corey-jones-shooting-family-files-wrongful-death-s/nrsr8/

Fatal Florida car accident raises concerns about safety in autonomous vehicles

The rapidly developing technology of self-driving cars holds the promise of an enormously positive impact on public safety, with many experts claiming that over 90 percent of car accident fatalities could be eliminated if autonomous vehicles become widespread. However, that claim was called into question recently, when it was revealed that the driver of a Tesla Model S electric sedan died in an accident in Florida May 7, while the vehicle was in its autonomous operating mode.

Joshua Brown, 40, was killed in Williston, Florida, when his car collided with a tractor-trailer that was turning left in front of him. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said that the Tesla was in self-driving mode, and preliminary information indicated that neither the driver nor the self-driving system applied the brakes. Tesla said in a news release that the autopilot system did not detect the white side of the truck against the bright sky.

The NHTSA has opened an investigation into the accident, but the agency cautioned that the initiation of the inquiry did not necessarily mean that there was a defect in the vehicle. Mark Rosekind, the head of the agency, said recently that self-driving cars need to be at least twice as safe as human drivers.

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, is often hailed as a visionary, but he was criticized for Tesla’s response to the accident. The company said that the death was the first in 130 million miles, and was a “statistical inevitability.” Musk pointed out that 1.3 million people die worldwide in traffic accidents each year.

Sources

  • http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/07/how-the-media-screwed-up-the-fatal-tesla-accident
  • https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jul/07/tesla-elon-musk-autopilot-death-crisis-management