Florida Cops Arrest Peaceful Protesters, Including Newspaper Reporter
On Friday, a protest took place in downtown West Palm Beach, demanding justice for the slaying of local musician Corey Jones on October 8.
Jones was shot by Palm Beach Gardens police officer Nouman Raja while he was just waiting for a tow truck at the side of the road. His car broke down early in the morning after a performance.
The Palm Beach Garden Police Department fired Nouman but no criminal charges were ever filed.
The group was protesting the State Attorney David Aronberg’s decision not to charge former police officer Nouman Raja but rather, present the case to a grand jury.
Nathan Dimoff was one of the protesters. He supports groups including Anonymous and South Florida Cop Watch and was just on the hunt for some good footage.
The protest began on the steps of the State Attorney’s Office, but then migrated to the State Attorney, David Aronberg’s home.
The small group of protesters were very peaceful, and caused absolutely no property damage. According to witnesses, the protesters were not even chanting.
However, the group wasn’t outside Aronberg’s condominium for two minutes before the cops swarmed in and arrested each protester.
The protesters were arrested on trespassing charges, committed once they crossed over the tracks at the Tri-Rail Station. It is considered a crime to cross the tracks where there is no designated crossing.
This certain misdemeanor is punishable with up to a year in jail or a fine of a $1,000.
Some of the protesters felt as if the police were just worried about protecting the State Attorney’s security.
“I’ve been doing this for 38 years and I can’t recall of any time I’ve ever heard of anyone being booked on a trespassing charge without another reason being involved,” defense attorney Glenn Mitchell said.
One of the arrested protesters was Palm Beach Post reporter George Bennett, who claimed to have been arrested for “just following the story.”
Post publisher Tim Burke said, “George Bennett was doing his job covering a protest when he was one of several people arrested on a trespassing charge. The Post supports George. Neither The Post nor George has further comment now.”
Nathan Dimoff was in jail from 3-9 on Friday afternoon. He bunked up with one of two members of the media who also got arrested. Despite Nathan’s ordeal, he was optimistic about the battle he was fighting, and vowed to continue protesting in the name of Corey and his family. “Our arrests are not just an attack on all of our free speech, but as soon as they arrested members of the media, they are attacking the First Amendment as well.”
Now it is up to a Grand Jury to fish out justice for the Corey Jones slaying.
The Grand Jury is supposed to get the case some time before June 30th.
Corey Jones’ family friend, Edward Rogers said, “(I) was a little disappointed in the decision, we thought they had enough time, but we’re going to press on.”
“It just motivated us a little bit more to press on to see what justice looks like in our eyes (and) in our community’s eyes.”
Nathan vows not to stop fighting until justice is served.