On February 7th, 2014, 14 year old Andrew Joseph III was attending the school district sponsored day at the Florida State Fair when he and 100 teenagers, mostly Black, were detained, searched, and kicked out of the fair by Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Officers. The officers abandoned Andrew Joseph III on the interstate miles away from the fairgrounds without calling his parents, where he was hit and killed by a passing car while trying to go home. The officers’ recklessness led directly to Andrew Joseph III’s death, and they must be held accountable. Eight years after his tragic death, Joseph’s family finally sees a long awaited trial to demand accountability from the sheriff's department starting September 12th until the 22nd.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office denies any responsibility for Andrew Joseph III’s death, and instead continued to place the blame on Andrew Joseph III. Without a system in place for the people to investigate the police and hold them accountable, they continue to lie and fabricate stories that do not add up to avoid facing repercussions for causing the unjust death of yet another Black life.
Over the last eight years, the police have refused to give up any documents around Andrew Joseph III’s case by appealing to qualified immunity, which protects the cops from civil lawsuits and makes it harder to hold them accountable. The upcoming trial was pushed back for way too long because of this federal law which holds the cops above the people. Accountability is long overdue. We must continue to organize and struggle until the cops responsible get fired and jailed, and for a future in which the police do not get away with the murder of Black people.
The National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression stands in full solidarity with Andrew Joseph III’s family and their demands for accountability. We also demand:
End of Qualified Immunity and the Law Enforcement Bill of Rights
Fire and indict all officers involved in the reckless actions that lead to Andrew Joseph III’s death
Community control of the police now!