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.