The Florida police officer who shot and killed a black amateur musician waiting for help alongside a highway after his car broke down last month has been fired, according to a statement from Palm Beach Gardens on Thursday.
Officer Nouman Raja, 38, had been on administrative leave from the city’s police force following the shooting of Corey Jones on Oct. 18. Jones’ death drew outrage after law enforcement officials revealed the officer was in plainclothes and never showed a badge before shooting the 31-year-old.
Raja was dismissed Wednesday night, the Palm Beach Gardens statement said. He has not been charged in the shooting, though a criminal investigation by local authorities and the FBI is ongoing.
Raja was hired by the upscale community’s police department in April and was still considered a probationary employee at the time of his firing, the city said.
As a result, his dismissal will not be subject to a grievance procedure, according to the city’s statement.
Jones’ death was another in a string of fatal incidents involving police and black men across the United States that have fueled questions about excessive use of force by officers.
Police say there was a confrontation with Jones, who was carrying a licensed handgun, after Raja pulled up in an unmarked van.
Raja shot six times, hitting Jones with three bullets, while Jones did not fire his weapon, the drummer’s lawyers said.
Telephone records obtained by the Palm Beach Post newspaper showed Jones had been on a 53-minute phone call with AT&T roadside assistance at the time of the shooting.
(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Christian Plumb)