AFRICANGLOBE – After Mathew Huntsberger realized he was unable to fix the SUV stalled on the shoulder of I-95 north of West Palm Beach, Florida in the middle of the night, the friend who’d summoned him decided to call for a tow truck — which is the last thing Huntsberger observed Corey Jones doing as he pulled away.
Just 45 minutes later, Corey Jones’ name belonged on the list of over 900 people killed by police in 2015 after he was fatally shot by a Palm Beach Gardens officer who had stopped to inspect the seemingly abandoned SUV — and his family and friends want to know why.
“I don’t understand,” Jones’ fellow band member Boris Simeonov said, according to the Sun Sentinel. “Something seems really wrong here.”
Wrong isn’t the half of it.
Officer Nouman Raja wasn’t in uniform when he pulled up to Jones’ SUV in an unmarked police car under the assumption he would be marking the vehicle abandoned — hence no officer body camera, and his vehicle was not equipped with a dash cam — so, the “facts” about this incident are wholly reliant on Raja’s verbal account. According to a statement by the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department:
“As the officer exited his vehicle, he was suddenly confronted by an armed subject. As a result of the confrontation, the officer discharged his firearm resulting in the death of the subject, Corey Jones.”
You’d have to be in a vegetative state to miss such intentional obfuscation of fact.
What, precisely, was Jones “armed” with? Arming oneself with a gun carries significantly different mitigating consequences than would, say, a socket wrench. Or a machete. Or a potato peeler. A middle finger.
Words that should narrate history frequently dictate history’s narrative, instead. Take, for instance, the choice of “confronted” and“confrontation” — which, given the outcome, one would surmise should instead be “attacked” and “attack.” Right?
Of course, “discharged his firearm resulting in the death of the subject” can’t be omitted from any discussion of imprecision, given the far simpler and infinitely more straightforward alternative, “fired his weapon, killing the subject.”
“Discharged his weapon” not only leaves officer error within the realm of technical fact, but carries the additional psychological impact of depersonalization from which the officer is effectively distanced from his actions, their consequences — really, from his involvement in the shooting, altogether. Had the description chosen “fired” instead — BAM! — Officer Raja is back directly causing the action.
Purely for formality’s sake — or for those of you who (go on, admit it) hardly even skimmed through the police statement above — “resulting in the death of the subject” comprises perhaps the least possible police accountability ever witnessed in a single sentence fragment. Moving on . . .
Now for the chance to test any police violence adherents who’ve happened upon this article: the litmus test cum attempted assassination of the victim’s character.
Corey Jones hailed from a family with many clergy members and spent a great deal of time either drumming in the church band for the Bible Church of God in Boynton Beach, or practicing for the same. He was well-liked and well-known in the community, and just as equally never known to have carried nor owned a firearm.
“He was a good kid just coming home from a gig,” said Jones’ cousin, Frank Hurst, according to The Washington Post. “He was just an all-around good guy who never got into any trouble, never had any record. It’s just an unfortunate situation […] They’re saying Corey approached him armed, which is a total lie.” Hearst added, “That don’t make sense.”
“They’re saying he was armed but I don’t know if I believe it,” Huntsberger said, echoing Hearst. Jones, he explained, was a mellow, churchgoing guy. “Of course they’re going to say that. If I was there, maybe it’s a different situation. I just don’t know what happened.”
“He was sitting on the side of the road and got shot,” said Jones’ uncle, Sylvester Banks Jr. “And we didn’t find out about it until about 12 hours later.”
Perhaps the questions most demanding answers surround the very scenario of the shooting: Jones sat alone on the shoulder of an interstate during that time of day that’s neither late nor early, when he was approached by a someone who could in no way be visually identified as law enforcement. Any number of things might have happened next — but (let’s revisit word choice, shall we?) what actually did happen has been airbrushed by the word “confrontation.”
We need to know what could have possibly led Officer Raja to employ deadly force against a stranded motorist. Jones’ family’s demands for answers have so far been met with the notorious Blue Wall of Silence — and they likely find no comfort in the fact that the Sheriff’s Office is responsible for the ostensibly “independent investigation” now being conducted.
You know, We Investigated Ourselves, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum.
Sheila Banks, Jones’ aunt (and also his godmother), rightly expressed her frustration, stating, “We haven’t gotten any answers yet. All we know is someone shot him.”
The family’s feelings about Corey Jones’ death were most aptly summarized by his cousin, Cassandra Gibbs, who said, “It feels like a sharp pain. Like a knife.”
You see, even Jones’ cousin in mourning can identify a weapon by name.
By: Claire Bernish