A Florida judge has denied a request from a former police officer who fatally shot a driver to have criminal charges against him thrown out under the state’s Stand Your Ground law, calling his testimony “unreliable and not credible,” reports the New York Times. Officer Nouman Raja was on duty in plain clothes in 2015 when he approached a vehicle he thought was abandoned on the side of an interstate. Corey Jones, a 31-year-old musician and housing inspector in the vehicle, had a legally purchased handgun with him. Raja claimed that Jones, who was black, pointed it at him, but prosecutors say Raja fired shots as Jones fled. Within moments of making his approach, Raja had fired six shots and struck Jones three times, killing him.
Raja was fired from the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department. He was charged in 2016 with manslaughter by culpable negligence and attempted first-degree murder with a firearm. In a ruling on Friday denying a motion to dismiss the case, Judge Samantha Schosberg Feuer of the 15th Judicial Circuit Court, cited numerous inconsistencies between Raja’s testimony and the physical evidence. Citing audio captured on Jones’s roadside assistance call, Judge Feuer indicated skepticism that Raja had clearly identified himself as a police officer — or that he had identified himself at all. Raja plans to file an appeal, a move almost certain to delay the trial’s scheduled start, in July.