Florida Officer Uses “Stand Your Ground” Law as a Defense in Court

Natali Barias, Reporter

Palm Beach Gardens Police officer, Nouman Raja, has been put on trial for killing black motorist, Corey Jones. One of his defenses is the controversial “Stand Your Ground” law.

Nouman Raja is accused of manslaughter and attempted first degree murder. The shooting occurred in 2015 when 31-year-old Corey Jones was approached by Raja. Raja was not dressed in uniform because he was investigating car burglaries in that area and was driving an unmarked white van. According to Raja’s sergeant, Raja was ordered to put on his police vest before approaching any potential suspects. The vest, however, was found in the unmarked van.

Jones was on the phone with a tow truck dispatcher at the time of Raja’s approach. At the time, Raja was unaware that he was being recorded. According to investigators, Raja stated that he identified himself, but it is never heard on the recording. The officer proceeded to yell at Jones to raise his arms. Fearing that he was being robbed, Jones pulled out his firearm prompting Raja to shoot him. After Raja shot 3 shots Jones threw his gun down and began running. Three more shots are heard on the recording after Jones began running. Jones died on the scene.

Raja is the first Florida police officer in 26 years to be put on trial for an on duty killing. His defense team is fully prepared to use the “Stand your Ground” law as his defense. The decision for police to be able to use this defense in court was made by the State Supreme Court in December of 2018.