Information Regarding Officer-Involved Shooting
On October 20th, the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department held a press conference to give statements related to the officer-involved shooting that took place in the City on Sunday, Oct.18, 2015. Below is a transcript of statements given by the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department.
Chief Stephen Stepp's Response to Palm Beach County State Attorney Decision on the Corey Jones Officer-Involved-Shooting investigation on 4.27.16
On October 18, 2015, Palm Beach Gardens Police Officer Nouman Raja was involved in the shooting death of Corey Jones alongside the Southbound exit ramp of I-95 at PGA Boulevard Within an hour of the early morning Officer-Involved-Shooting, I requested that an independent investigation take place. Since that morning, the City of Palm Beach Gardens has not been involved in the specific aspects of the investigation by any of the three independent agencies that include the PBSO, FBI, and SAO. We respect the Criminal Justice process, along with the decision by the State Attorney and look forward to learning the details of the investigative findings.
The death of Corey Jones should not have happened that morning. Everything we have learned about Corey clearly tells us that he was a good man who contributed to our community. Therefore, while we await the facts of the investigation, we are not sitting idle. The City of Palm Beach Gardens has taken a number of steps since October to avoid another tragedy and to create new partnerships throughout the region. Some of the numerous examples include policy enhancements, our implementation of body-worn-cameras, draft policy legislation, training, and expanded community outreach programs that are regional in nature.
In meeting with family members and numerous community leaders, such as the Palm Beach County Clergy Alliance & the Urban League, we are forming new regional partnerships. These partnerships are beginning to create trusting relationships, the sharing of ideas, and most importantly develop programs that make a difference. The City of Palm Beach Gardens understands our responsibility and is committed to continuous improvement. We cannot bring Corey Jones back, and for that I am truly sorry. But, we can use his tragic death as a catalyst for positive change.
City Statement Issued on 11.12.15
The City of Palm Beach Gardens has been cautiously and methodically considering the employment status of Officer Nouman Raja. Therefore, Officer Raja, a probationary employee with the City, has been terminated from employment effective Wednesday, November 11, 2015 at 5:00 PM.
The independent criminal investigation into the Officer-Involved Shooting that occurred on October 18, 2015 is ongoing and the City will continue to cooperate with all agencies involved.
Article 28, Section 4 of the current Police Benevolent Association Union contract with the City of Palm Beach Gardens, which governs all police officers' positions of employment with the City states:
Section 4: Any decision involving assignments, layoff or dismissal of probationary employees is entirely within the discretion of the City. Such decision shall not be subject to the grievance procedure. However, the employee may grieve other alleged contractual violations during said probationary period.
City Statement Issued on 10.22.15
Today the City of Palm Beach Gardens welcomed hundreds of citizens and family members of Mr. Corey Jones to facilitate their expression of loss and concern about the officer-involved shooting that led to Mr. Jones' death. We share in their sorrow and desire for all of the facts related to this tragedy to be known. We also respect the peaceful and genuine expressions shared at today's events.
The City is actively cooperating with the pending investigation by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office and the State Attorney's Office regarding the shooting of Mr. Jones. The City also is similarly committed to cooperating fully with any other appropriate investigations into these events at the local, state or federal level. We respect the deep sense of loss being felt by Mr. Jones' family and the community, and recognize the significant concern that all have regarding full disclosure of all facts relevant to this tragic incident.
We share the family and the community's deep interest in a timely and thorough investigation of all relevant facts and evidence, and the public disclosure of those findings as soon as possible. While we are sensitive to the need and desire for investigative conclusions to be shared, it is essential that appropriate time be allotted to determine the facts and the truth – to get it right.
The City looks forward to the family and the public being apprised of all details, as the independent investigations continue.
Due to the immense volume of inquiries we are receiving, we are unable to respond individually, however we will provide regular updates to the media and the public via email and on the City's website. If you have a request for documents, please contact our City Clerk's online.
City Statement Issued on 10.21.15
Placing a priority on enabling peaceable free speech, the City of Palm Beach Gardens is actively prepared to accommodate an announced demonstration planned for 10:00 a.m. Thursday at the municipal complex located at 10500 N. Military Trail. The City has reserved a large area adjacent to the Palm Beach Gardens police station for individuals to assemble and to conduct the event.
The City recognizes the immense sorrow and grief that the family of Mr. Corey Jones is experiencing at this time, and public concern about the October 18 events that led to Mr. Jones' death. In an effort to allow the family and community an opportunity to express themselves, the City is providing an elevated platform with podium/microphone. In addition, we will be providing water and temporary restroom facilities, as well as traffic control for those attending this event.
City Hall will be closed to the public for the day. City Hall will reopen for regular business operations on Friday, October 23 at 8:00 a.m.