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Former Florida policeman guilty in killing of black motorist who was waiting for his car to be towed

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A Florida jury on Thursday convicted a former police officer for manslaughter and attempted first-degree murder in the fatal 2015 shooting of a black motorist who was waiting for his car to be towed off the highway.

Nouman Raja, 41, was charged in 2016 after a grand jury found he had used unjustified force when he shot and killed 31-year-old Corey Jones while wearing plainclothes on a highway exit ramp in West Palm Beach. Prosecutors said Raja, who was fired from the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department after the shooting, did not identify himself as a police officer.

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Raja looked distraught as the jury read the verdict after five hours of deliberations. He was then was placed in handcuffs and escorted out of the courtroom. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison when he is sentenced on April 26.

Relatives of Jones left the West Palm Beach courtroom in tears, hugging each other and raising their hands in praise.

“It was truth that convicted him. It was truth that brought him to justice. It was the truth that sent him to jail,” the victim’s father, Clinton Jones, told reporters outside. “It was truth that gave us justice for Corey.”

Jones’ brother, Clinton Jones Jr., said the family knew he was innocent from day one. “From his character alone, it’s just impossible for him to do that,” he said during a news conference.

Raja’s lawyer, Richard Lubin, argued on Wednesday that the police officer feared for his life when Jones pulled out a gun during the roadside encounter, according to WPEC CBS12 News.

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Lubin did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

Raja was driving an unmarked van when he approached Jones early on Oct. 18, 2015, and fired six shots at the victim within 13 seconds, according to prosecutors.

Jones, who was a drummer, had pulled out a .380-caliber handgun that he had legally purchased three days earlier. He was hit three times and died of a gunshot wound to his chest.

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Audio from the incident was captured on a recording of a roadside assistance call that Jones had placed before Raja arrived. According to prosecutors, the recording showed that Raja did not identify himself as a police officer.

Protesters held a peaceful rally in Palm Beach Gardens four days after Jones was killed, and dozens of mourners attended his funeral more than a week later.

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The Rev. Al Sharpton was among those who spoke at the memorial service, where pallbearers wore hats and jerseys of the National Football League’s Oakland Raiders, Jones’ favorite team.

Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for Jones’ family, said at the news conference that the musician was passionate about helping people and playing his music.

“Without that tape recorder, he (Raja) would have lied and his proclamation that he was standing his ground would have reigned supreme,” Crump said.

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Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Leslie Adler


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Britons gear up to defend NHS from privatization scheme as Tories win strong majority in UK election

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"We will defend our public services—especially the NHS—from attempts to degrade or destroy them, and support, as well as we are able, the overworked heroes who keep them afloat."

After U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Tory party won a strong majority in the general election Thursday, British progressives mourned the "utterly devastating" result and geared up for a fight to defend the National Health Service from more right-wing budget cuts and privatization efforts.

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‘We’re in deep trouble’: FBI veterans fear Trump’s attacks will lead to violence against agents

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Law enforcement veterans fear President Donald Trump's frequent attacks on them are putting investigators in physical danger.

The president regularly attacks the FBI and other investigators at his campaign rallies -- where he calls them "human scum" -- and on his Twitter feed, where he regularly accuses them of treason, reported the Washington Post.

Those crude attacks have consequences, said one former FBI agent.

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‘Dems wanted out!’ Trump brags after GOP ‘warriors’ drag out impeachment to 14-hour marathon

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President Donald Trump gloated hours ahead of a House vote on impeachment.

The president tweeted out praise for the Republican "warriors" who pounded the table and disrupted Thursday's marathon hearing, which lasted about 14 hours, and insisted Democrats had no case to impeach him over his actions toward Ukraine.

"The Republicans House members were fantastic yesterday," Trump tweeted. "It always helps to have a much better case, in fact the Dems have no case at all, but the unity & sheer brilliance of these Republican warriors, all of them, was a beautiful sight to see. Dems had no answers and wanted out!"

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