Corey Jones case: Florida House approves body camera bill backed by family of slain Palm Beach County motorist

Family of Corey Jones release balloons at Florida Capitol last month on what would've been his 32nd birthday.
Family of Corey Jones release balloons at Florida Capitol last month on what would’ve been his 32nd birthday.

Body camera legislation supported by the family of Corey Jones, shot and killed in a Palm Beach Gardens encounter with a police officer, cleared the Florida House on Friday on a 113-0 vote.

The measure (HB 93) doesn’t require law enforcement agencies to use cameras. Instead, it would require that policies and procedures be set for police and sheriff’s offices using the devices.

“We don’t want the bad cops to give the good cops a black eye,” said Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee.

A similar bill (SB 418) is poised for approval in the Florida Senate. Lawmakers are expected to finalize the legislation and send it to Gov. Rick Scott before next Friday’s scheduled session end.

Jones’ family members came to the Capitol last month on what would’ve been his 32nd birthday to lobby in support of the measure. They also released black and white balloons in a solemn remembrance of the professional drummer, who worked by day as a property manager for the Delray Beach Housing Authority.

Jones was waiting for a tow truck on the off-ramp of Interstate 95 at PGA Boulevard about 3:15 a.m. on Oct. 18 when he was shot six times by then-Palm Beach Gardens police officer Nouman Raja, who arrived at the scene in plain clothes driving an unmarked white van.

Raja has since been fired by the department.

Palm Beach Gardens Police Chief Stephen Stepp said Raja, 38, told them he was “suddenly confronted by an armed subject” and fatally shot Jones.

Jones, though, was licensed to carry a concealed gun and probably did not know he was being confronted by a police officer, said Benjamin Crump, a civil rights attorney hired by the Jones family and who has represented the families of several slain African-Americans including Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.

Three agencies are now investigating Raja’s shooting of Jones — the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s office, the Palm Beach County’s Sheriff’s Office and the FBI.

The Palm Beach Gardens City Council in January also unanimously approved spending $262,296 to buy body cameras for its police officers.

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