WEST PALM BEACH (CBSMiami) — The Palm Beach Gardens Police officer who shot and killed Corey Jones is out of a job.READ MORE: Israelis In South Florida Monitoring Violence In Home Country, Want It To Stop
City officials made the announcement on Thursday, saying he had been terminated the day before saying in part, “The City of Palm Beach Gardens has been cautiously and methodically considering the employment status of Officer Nouman Raja. Therefore, Officer Raja, a probationary employee with the City, has been terminated from employment.”
Skinner Louis, one of the attorneys representing the family of Corey Jones, calls this a step in the right direction.
“Seeing that they chose to fire him is a great indication that they believe that something was not properly followed. Some protocol must have been violated in order for them to go ahead and release him,” said Louis in a phone interview with CBS4 News.
Raja’s termination comes during an independent criminal investigation into the October 18th death of Jones who is from Boynton Beach.
The police-involved shooting sparked a national outcry for justice since Jones was shot by Raja, who was in an unmarked van and dressed in plain clothes when he pulled up to Jones’ broken-down car on the side of an I-95 exit ramp. Raja was not carrying his badge to identify himself as a police officer.READ MORE: Woman Who Snuck Into American Sr. High Posing As Student To Promote Instagram Account Bonds Out
Officer Raja fired his weapon six times when he noticed that Jones was armed with a handgun. Jones did not fire back.
The shooting is being investigated by three separate agencies. City officials said they will continue to cooperate with all the agencies involved.
Thursday night, a gospel concert dedicated to Corey Jones brought a number of well-known artists to the Faith Center in Sunrise. Jones’ family was also on hand for the event organized by Grammy award-winning gospel artist Tye Tribbett, Jones’ cousin.
In response to the termination, Jones’ family issued a statement calling for criminal liability in the case saying, “While we are pleased that the city of Palm Beach Gardens has terminated the employment of the officer who gunned down Corey Jones, we maintain that the officer in question also must be held criminally liable for his reckless actions that night. Our family remains hopeful that the outside agencies brought in to investigate Corey’s killing will soon begin to yield factual information about how and why this officer acted so callously. Through all of the sorrow and pain that accompanied Corey’s death, our family is encouraged by the multitude of well-wishers who have reached out to us during this difficult time. It is obvious that Corey touched many lives and for that we will be forever grateful.”
According to the City of Palm Beach Gardens, Raja had been with the department since April and he had not yet made it through his 12-month probationary period.MORE NEWS: Panic Buying Over Fuel Pipeline Shut Down Has Led To Long Lines At Some South Florida Gas Stations
“Any decision involving assignments, layoff or dismissal of probationary employees is entirely within the discretion of the city. Such decision shall not be subject to the grievance procedure,” the city said in a statement.