New York City — “If you want to hear the truth, you must let the suffering speak!” Room L2.84 of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice was full with folks waiting to hear “A Father Perspective on Police Terrorism Against Children of Colour: Aberrations or Everyday Occurrences?”, Saturday afternoon at the Left Forum 2016.
I am sitting with Andrew Joseph Jr., father of Andrew Joseph III. The year was 2014 as Andrew stood to get on a ride. His team mates were being arrested and he went to inquire. The Gang task force was on the scene. Andrew was known as “Pee-Wee”. Pee-Wee picked up his friend show and hat and passed it to him. An academically intelligent 8th grade student who was slated for Holy Confirmation the next day responds to his friend and said, “I see how the officers are treating you.” The Gang Task Force officer questioned Andrew and made him pull up his shirt to see if he had any “Gang Tattoos”.
The Hillsborough County School District gives students the day off and free passes to attend Student Day at the Florida State Fair. As a result, tens of thousands pack into the fair each Student Day, and that has resulted in unruliness. In 2014, it led to violence. Deputies arrested 12 people and ejected 99 others.
Andrew Joseph III was one of those ejected. But the deputies who removed teens from the fair did not monitor them, contact their parents or ensure they returned home safely.
Andrew Joseph III was then told to get into the car and they dropped him off 2 miles from the fair. The 14-year-old was killed trying to cross Interstate 4 to return to the fairgrounds to meet his ride, his was hit by a car. The owner of the car never stopped. The owner who was 19 had the remains of Andrew on the grill of his car. The owner was never fined or ticketed.
In February the Josephs filed their long-planned wrongful-death lawsuit against the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida State Fair Authority and the Hillsborough County School District.