Fl. Officer On Trial For On-Duty Killing Will Use ‘Stand Your Ground’ Defense

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For the first time in 26 years, a Florida police officer is standing trial for an on-duty killing — and one of his defenses will be the state’s controversial “stand your ground” law, the Associated Press reports. Officer Nouman Raja is charged with manslaughter and attempted first-degree murder for the 2015 shooting of Corey Jones. Jones, a 31-year-old black musician, had just gotten out of his broken-down SUV when he was confronted by Raja, who was dressed in plainclothes and driving an unmarked white van. The shooting happened amid several highly publicized killings of black men by police officers nationwide, some leading to prosecutions. Raja, 41, could face a life sentence if convicted.

The last Florida officer tried for an on-duty killing was Miami’s William Lozano in 1989. The Hispanic officer fatally shot a black motorcyclist who he said tried to hit him. A passenger died when the motorcycle crashed. The deaths resulted in three days of rioting. Lozano was convicted of two manslaughter counts in a Miami trial, but an appeals court dismissed the verdict, saying the case should have been moved because of racial tensions. Lozano was acquitted at a 1993 retrial in Orlando.

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