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Church Drummer, Corey Jones, Killed by Plainclothes Florida Police Officer

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By Carlos Harrison and Wesley Lowery, The Washington Post

 

Stranded on a highway off-ramp at 3 a.m., waiting for a tow truck, Corey Jones was armed with a brand-new pistol and a state-issued concealed-carry permit that entitled him to take the gun wherever he pleased.

 

Enter Palm Beach Gardens police officer Nouman Raja, wearing civilian clothes and driving an unmarked van. He pulled up to Jones’s vehicle, thinking it was abandoned.

 

Minutes later, Jones, 31, was dead.

 

Police say Raja opened fire after Jones confronted him with a gun. But under Florida’s expansive gun laws, Jones may have been entirely within his rights to brandish his weapon, legal experts say — especially if reports that Raja never displayed his badge are true.

 

The shooting has raised troubling questions about the rules of engagement when a legally armed motorist faces a police officer out of uniform late at night on a lonely road. And those rules could get even trickier, experts say, if Florida lawmakers approve a pending measure to permit people with concealed-carry permits to openly display their weapons.

 

“The police are nervous as it is,” said Roy Black, a prominent Florida attorney who has represented more than 100 police officers in use-of-force cases.

 

“The horror” of the Jones shooting, Black said, is that “both men could have been acting perfectly legally and it still ended up in tragedy.”

 

State officials are investigating the Oct. 18 shooting, as is the Palm Beach County sheriff. Few details have been released, and Jones’s family is demanding answers. They have hired a stable of attorneys, including Benjamin Crump, the Florida lawyer who represents the family of slain Ferguson, Mo., teen Michael Brown and slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin.

 

Last week, Jones’s family held a news conference on the steps of the Palm Beach County Courthouse. “I raised my children to be respectable and to respect the law. I always tell them to stay humble,” his father, Clinton Jones Sr., tearfully told reporters. “Today, I need some answers. I need to know why. Why my son is gone today.”

 

Though Corey Jones was black and the officer who shot him was not, his brother, Clinton Jones Jr., urged reporters not to view the shooting as “a black thing.”

 

“My brother did not see color. I don’t see color,” he said, noting that his wife is white. “So, no disrespect to Black Lives Matter: All lives matter.”

 

Jones, who had no criminal record, came from a large family in the Palm Beach area. Several of his relatives are members of the clergy. Corey worked as an assistant manager at the Delray Beach Housing Authority, relatives said, but his passion was drumming. He played at his church in Boynton Beach and with a local reggae band known as the Future Prezidents.

 

Playing with the band, Crump said, meant Jones often drove around with cash and “thousands of dollars worth of equipment.” More than two years ago, he began carrying a gun for protection.

 

Crump said that Jones had obtained a concealed-weapons permit and that he bought a new pistol.

 

Jones was headed home from a gig, driving south on Interstate 95, when his car broke down in Palm Beach Gardens.

 

About 1:45 a.m., Jones pulled off the highway and called the band’s bassist, Mathew Huntsberger, asking him to bring oil. When that didn’t help, the two men pushed the SUV to the side of the road, and Jones called for a tow truck. Huntsberger drove home, knowing the tow truck was on its way.

 

About 3:15 a.m., police said, Raja stopped his unmarked van near Jones’s SUV “to investigate what he believed to be an abandoned vehicle.” Raja then was “suddenly confronted by an armed subject” and opened fire, police said.

 

Police found Jones’s gun lying on the ground, unfired.

 

Crump said the family was also told that Raja never showed his badge.

 

“We believe Corey went to his grave not knowing if this was a real cop,” Crump said. “Why didn’t he identify himself? Why didn’t he show the badge? He rode up on him in an unmarked white van with tinted windows. He doesn’t know if he’s about to be mugged, if he’s about to be robbed, if he’s about to be killed.”

 

The FBI has joined the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office investigation into the shooting death of Jones.

 

At a rally held by Rivera Beach Mayor and Bishop Thomas Masters on Monday, the mayor announced that he, several elected officials and members of the African American community are also calling for a special prosecutor to investigate Jones’s death.

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Bay Area

De La Fuente Runs for Mayor

De La Fuente said he “will not tolerate homeless encampments where violence and drug abuse are rampant.” These encroachers are disrespecting our neighborhoods, our schools, our businesses, our residents, taking over our parks and defacing our city. He said the residents and businesses in our low-income flatland neighborhoods have been disproportionately affected by these encampments, and they deserve better. In collaboration with the county, we will serve our homeless residents who need it most, but not at the expense of other residents and businesses in our city.”

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Photo Caption: Ignacio De La Fuente

By Paul Cobb and news services

Ignacio De La Fuente, the former President of the Oakland City Council for 11 years, says he will run for mayor to rescue the city from its deep troubles.

He said he is returning to political leadership after a 10-year absence. Claiming that he is “sick and tired of what’s happening to our city,” and he can’t just stand by and witness “the city that I love become a place where people are afraid to walk the streets, to take their children to parks, to go out to dinner with their families or to park their cars on the street. I cannot let our city continue [to] be a place where seniors are assaulted and robbed in broad daylight, a place where illegal side-shows are constant throughout the city and a place where children are being shot and killed! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Oakland is not a dumping ground, and it is time to take action!”

He, along with the support of his former council colleague Nate Miley, who is now serving as an Alameda County Supervisor, and who is sponsoring a fundraiser for De La Fuente, has boldly declared that he will “do whatever it takes to increase the number of police officers, but I will give them the resources that they need to help them do their job, but above all, I will provide them the back up and political support that they need and deserve to perform their job for our residents and for our businesses.”

He said he “will not tolerate homeless encampments where violence and drug abuse are rampant.” These encroachers are disrespecting our neighborhoods, our schools, our businesses, our residents, taking over our parks and defacing our city. De La Fuente said the residents and businesses in our low-income flatland neighborhoods have been disproportionately affected by these encampments, and they deserve better. In collaboration with the county, we will serve our homeless residents who need it most, but not at the expense of other residents and businesses in our city.”

He wants to change the focus and emphasis of how the city spends its infrastructure money on what is truly needed by “repairing potholes, taking back and beautifying our parks, fixing our sewers and providing robust programming for our recreation centers and libraries to enrich the lives of our kids and seniors.”

In a characteristic fearless, colorful style that he achieved a no-nonsense reputation De La Fuente announced “The job of mayor is not for the faint of heart! Oakland is a great city that needs a mayor with the political backbone and experience to make the tough decisions to get this city back on track!

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Barbara Lee

Congresswoman Lee Comments on Bipartisan Senate Framework for Gun Reform Legislation

“The bipartisan Senate framework on gun reform legislation is a crucial first step. This legislation will make critical investments in mental health resources, school safety, and increased vetting for weapons purchases. But while this is a start, much more must be done to address the gun violence epidemic,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee.

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Rep. Barbara Lee. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Congress.
Barbara Lee.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee released a statement on the bipartisan Senate framework on gun reform legislation that was announced on June 12:

“The bipartisan Senate framework on gun reform legislation is a crucial first step. This legislation will make critical investments in mental health resources, school safety, and increased vetting for weapons purchases. But while this is a start, much more must be done to address the gun violence epidemic.

“I’ve recently met with gun violence prevention groups in my district who are doing the work on the ground in our community to end the cycle of violence and trauma. Their message to me was clear: they want Congress to take bold action.

“Our next steps should include banning assault weapons, taking ghost guns off the streets, incentivizing more comprehensive background checks, promoting gun buy backs and much more. Gun violence is a uniquely American problem. We cannot stop until our schools, grocery stores, churches, hospitals, and all of our communities are safe.”

Congresswoman Lee is the highestranking Black woman in the U.S. Congress.

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Activism

Vice-Mayor Rebecca Kaplan Advocates for H.R. 7910 Following Oakland Youth Rally Demanding Gun Control 

Oakland’s Vice-Mayor Rebecca Kaplan said her research has shown that “ghost guns” account for 30% of guns recovered in California. Although these guns function and cause harm like traditional guns, their manufacturers and retailers are largely unregulated.

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Rebecca Kaplan
Oakland’s Vice-Mayor Rebecca Kaplan

Oakland’s Vice-Mayor Rebecca Kaplan has asked her colleagues on the City Council to join her in uplifting the voices of Oakland youth leaders and the community to join with her to call on Congress to take immediate action to impose common-sense gun control laws. The Rules and Legislation Committee voted to approve the scheduling of Kaplan’s item for the July 5, 2022, City Council Meeting.

Kaplan’s resolution would declare the City of Oakland’s support of House Resolution 7910 (Nadler), the “Protecting Our Kids Act,” and calls upon the California Congressional Delegation to endorse the bill and advocate for its passage in Congress.

Kaplan said. “The City of Oakland has enacted some of the strongest firearms safety laws in California and has a compelling interest in protecting its residents from gun violence. However, Oakland’s strong gun violence prevention laws are being undermined by weak national and neighbor state gun laws, illegal gun trafficking, and ghost guns – firearms constructed with component parts that can be obtained anonymously and without a background check. When these firearms, ghost guns, are recovered at crime scenes, they cannot be traced due to the lack of a serial number. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).”

Kaplan said her research has shown that “ghost guns” account for 30% of guns recovered in California. Although these guns function and cause harm like traditional guns, their manufacturers and retailers are largely unregulated.

The ‘‘Protecting Our Kids Act’’ is a comprehensive federal bill that contains numerous measures focused on addressing gun violence, gun safety, responsible gun ownership, regulation of certain firearms and components, gun trafficking, and public safety. H.R. 7910 would employ a variety of strategies to effectively reduce gun violence across the country by:

  • Prohibiting the sale or transfer of certain semiautomatic firearms to people under 21 years of age;
  • Prohibition on straw purchases of firearms;
  • Prohibition on gun trafficking;
  • Establishing a federal statutory framework to regulate ghost guns;
  • Establishing a framework to regulate the storage of firearms on residential premises at the federal, state, and tribal levels;
  • Subjecting bump stocks to regulation under federal firearms laws;
  • Generally, prohibiting the import, sale, manufacture, transfer, and possession of large capacity ammunition feeding devices; and
  • Requiring the Department of Justice to report on the demographic data of persons who are determined to be ineligible to purchase a firearm based on a background check performed by the national instant criminal background check system.

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