Passions flare as Florida community discusses police shooting of black musician

Florida community discusses police officer’s fatal shooting of a black musician.

WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES (OCTOBER 23, 2015) (NBC) – People gathered at Tabernacle Missionary Church in West Palm Beach, Florida on Friday (October 23) to discuss a plainclothes police officer’s fatal shooting of a black musician, NBC reported.

“A lot of times we look at these situations and we try to figure out why they happen. We don’t need to figure out our end. They need to find out why they keep shooting us. Because if you have somebody that’s on the side of the road and their car is broke down. It makes no sense why they’re dead the next hour. It makes no sense. And so it’s a lot of questions that need to be answered,” said Sybrina Fulton who is the mother of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teen shot to death in 2012 by a Florida neighborhood watch volunteer.

The Florida sheriff investigating the incident asked for federal assistance to “ensure the highest level of scrutiny and impartiality.”

The Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, facing public criticism for its handling of prior officer-involved shootings, said in a statement that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had accepted the request in the case of Corey Jones, a 31-year-old drummer who was shot early Sunday.

It said the decision was made “to provide the family of Corey Jones and the community with a thorough and accurate investigation.”

Local politicians and activists say the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office has lost the public’s trust and that the FBI was already looking into one 2013 incident.

They are calling for the U.S. Department of Justice or the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate the killing of Jones, shot dead by a Palm Beach Gardens police officer after his car broke down on a highway exit ramp as he drove home from a gig.

Jones’ death was the latest in a string of fatal incidents involving police and black men across the United States that have sparked outrage and fueled questions about excessive use of force by officers.

In its announcement on Friday, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office recognized the uneasy national climate.

Police say there was a confrontation with Jones, who was carrying a licensed handgun, after officer Nouman Raja, 38, pulled up in an unmarked van.

Raja shot six times, hitting Jones with three bullets, while Jones did not fire his weapon, the drummer’s lawyers told reporters Thursday after meeting the state attorney who is investigating the incident.