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Tampa demands justice for Jonas Joseph, ‘Community control now!’

By Bill Aiman |
August 18, 2020
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Protest for Jonas Joseph, slain by Tampa police
Protest for Jonas Joseph, slain by Tampa police (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Tampa, FL - Over 50 people rallied and marched through downtown Tampa August 15 to demand justice for Jonas Joseph, a 26-year-old Haitian-American man murdered by five Tampa Police Department officers after they fired 125 shots. The march was attended by the family of Jonas Joseph and members of the community and was hosted by the Tampa Bay Community Action Committee (TBCAC) and Black Lives Matter Restoration Polk Inc.

Jonas Joseph was murdered by Tampa officers the night of April 28 when he was pulled over for a traffic stop. Police accounts of the events leading up to the shooting have changed numerous times. Police first claimed that Jonas attempted to flee the traffic stop and shot at the officers. Then the police story changed and Jonas did not fire at them. Crime scene investigators have failed to find any casings from Jonas’s gun.

What is clear however, is TPD’s excessive use of force.

“Four months and we’re still waiting for the truth. Why don’t we have an answer? There is no evidence of him shooting, but there’s evidence of the five police murdering him! Mayor Jane Castor, Police Chief Dugan and State Attorney Andrew Warren turned their backs on us,” said June Altaïr, Jonas’s cousin.

The five officers involved in the murder of Jonas will not face any charges, after State Attorney Andrew Warren’s office declined to press charges.

The family of Jonas Joseph, TBCAC and BLM Restoration Polk Inc. are demanding the state attorney’s office reopen the case and release footage from the night of April 28. They are also calling for community control of the police.

“It’s our job as a community to keep coming out and demanding justice in support of the Joseph family. The fight won’t be over until Jonas and his family get the justice they deserve,” said David Jones, the emcee of the rally and an organizer from Tampa Bay Community Action Committee.

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