Corey Jones shooting: Crowd expected at Palm Beach Gardens meeting

Community leader Derrick McCray, pictured, and Palm Beach Gardens Mayor Eric Jablin addressed the media outside City Hall after community and city officials met for three hours Monday. (Sarah Peters/The Palm Beach Post)
Community leader Derrick McCray, pictured, and Palm Beach Gardens Mayor Eric Jablin addressed the media outside City Hall after community and city officials met for three hours Nov. 16. (Sarah Peters/The Palm Beach Post)

A month after Corey Jones was laid to rest, his death continues to galvanize calls from the community for greater police accountability.

Derrick McCray, owner of McCray’s Backyard BBQ, has been part of meetings between city leaders and local clergy. He also helped organize a rally along PGA Boulevard outside the Gardens Mall in November.

While people are thankful the city fired Officer Nouman Raja, they still want answers they’ll seek at tonight’s City Council meeting, he said.

For instance, they want to know who was supervising Raja the night he shot and killed Jones, a 31-year-old drummer and property manager for the Delray Beach Housing Authority. That’s what they hope to find out during the 7 p.m. meeting at City Hall, 10500 N. Military Trail, he said.

“We at least need some explanation on who else was accountable…” McCray said.

Jones car broke down on the way home from a gig and he was waiting for a tow truck on the exit ramp of I-95 southbound at PGA Boulevard in the early morning hours of Oct. 18, police have said.

Raja, who was in plain clothes and driving an unmarked van, came upon what he said he thought was an abandoned vehicle. He eventually fired at Jones six times, killing him with three gunshots, the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office has said. Palm Beach Gardens police have said Raja fired after he saw Jones had a legally-purchased gun.

McCray emphasized city officials have been very hospitable, meeting with he and local clergy to discuss possible changes to the department, such as diversity training and body cameras. Their input will help with crafting the language for a proposed law in Jones’ name, he said.

“We can’t live in a lawless society. We’re not against the police, but we just feel that some reforms need to be made in order for another Corey Jones situation not to take place,” McCray said.

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