Prince Jones

Prince Carmen Jones was one of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s and Kenyatta Matthews’s friends and Howard University classmates. After leaving Howard, while living in Prince George’s County, Maryland, with Kenyatta and their young son, Samori, Coates learned from an article in The Washington Post that Prince Jones had been killed by a PG County police officer.

On the day he died, Jones was driving from his home in PG County to northern Virginia to visit his fiancee, who was pregnant with their daughter. The officer, who had been charged earlier that day with arresting a drug dealer who bore little resemblance to Jones, followed Jones to his destination and, after approaching Jones with his gun drawn and without a badge, shot him multiple times within yards of Jones’s fiancee’s home. Jones was twenty-five years old. The officer claimed Jones had tried to run him off the road with his jeep, an assertion Coates knew would be believed in spite of the fact that the officer himself had been the only witness to the scene. In the end, the officer was sent back to work unpunished.

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