By: Will Burchfield
Anquan Boldin was one of five NFL players who traveled to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to discuss police brutality and race relations with members of Congress.
In fact, it was Boldin who spearheaded the effort and assembled the quintet of players, according to ESPN.com. For the Lions’ wide receiver, the issue of police brutality hits close to home.
As ESPN’s Jim Trotter describes, Boldin’s cousin Corey Jones was gunned down by a plainclothes police officer after Jones’ car broke down on the side of a South Florida highway in the early morning hours on Oct. 18, 2015. Jones did nothing to provoke the officer, who shot at him six times, according to Trotter’s report.
Jones was on the phone with roadside assistance when a white cargo van pulled up in the dim light. A man wearing blue jeans, sneakers, a tan T-shirt and a baseball cap got out.
“You good?” the man asked.
“I’m good,” Jones answered.
“Yeah, I’m good,” Jones repeated.
The next sound on an audio recording of the phone call was the man shouting: “Get your f—ing hands up! Get your f—ing hands up!”
“Hold on!” Jones said.
“Get your f—ing hands up! Drop!” the man yelled before firing three gunshots within two seconds.
According to a report filed by the state attorney’s office, the man fired three more shots 10 seconds later — only “more deliberately” — with one shot every three seconds.
Jones, 31, died on the side of that highway after being struck by three of the six bullets. His death sparked local protests because the man who allegedly shot him, Nouman Raja, was a plainclothes Palm Beach Gardens police officer who failed to show a badge or identify himself as an officer. Raja was driving an unmarked van.
According to ESPN.com, Raja was later charged with manslaughter and attempted murder, but the case has not yet been brought to trial.
“Boldin would like answers for not only his family, but all families who have experienced such a tragedy,” Trotter writes. “It’s one reason he and four other NFL players have traveled to Capitol Hill on Tuesday for meetings with a handful of congressmen, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.”
For more on the five players who made the trip to Capitol Hill, including their personal motivations, check out Trotter’s story.