The family of a young black man gunned down by a plainclothes police officer in Florida last year expressed relief this week at the news of criminal charges in the case.
In a statement, the Jones family welcomed the development in the case, according to CNN: "While we understand that nothing can bring back our son, brother and friend, this arrest sends a message that this conduct will not be tolerated from members of law enforcement."
A grand jury determined "that the use of force by Mr.
Jones, 31, had been stranded in his SUV on the off-ramp of a South Florida interstate when he encountered Raja, 38, who had been on burglary detail in
Investigators determined that, although Jones did have a concealed weapon in his vehicle when he encountered Raja, the gun was discovered 41 yards from his body with the safety lock on and no shots fired. Recordings of Jones' call to a roadside assistance hotline and Raja's 911 call to report the shooting revealed inconsistencies in the officer's version of events, and that Raja did not identify himself as an officer to Jones before firing at him six times, according to CNN.
Wednesday's announcement of the charges against Raja came on the same day federal authorities in Minneapolis declined to charge the officers who shot Jamar Clark, an unarmed black man, in November. Clark's and Jones' cases joined the list of names of racial minorities killed by officers in 2015, driving a national policing reform effort started by activists in the Black Lives Matter movement.
Race and police bias make the Jones case complex
Jones had been described by friends and family as friendly and churchgoing. J
Prior to his encounter with Jones, Raja had been disciplined in his last police job for failing to turn in
Authorities have not alleged that Raja shot Jones because of a bias against African-Americans. The Jones family has also avoided this narrative.
Family hesitated to make the case about Jones' race
"This is not a black thing," Clinton Jones, Jr., Corey Jones' older brother, said in a press conference in October. "No disrespect to Black Lives Matter, but all lives matter."