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Tampa Bay activists rally for NAARPR national day of protest

By Will Blake |
September 22, 2020
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Tampa protest against police crimes.
Tampa protest against police crimes. (Fight Back! News/staff)

Tampa, FL - On September 19, the Tampa Bay Community Action Committee participated in the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression’s (NAARPR) national day of protest with a rally of about 40 members of the community in downtown Tampa. NAARPR’s call to action demanded an end to racist police terror, the withdrawal of federal troops in cities across the country and for community control of the police.

The rally also demanded justice for Jonas Joseph, a Black man shot and killed by Tampa police in April. After being pulled over by undercover police cars, Joseph was shot over 120 times by Tampa Police Department officers, whose first account claimed that Joseph had shot at officers first. Months later, and after multiple changes to their official account, TPD admitted that Joseph had not fired a gun at any point during the incident.

“Tampa has a long history of police brutality, police terror and innocent lives being murdered by a racist system,” said Thi Kim, a Tampa Bay Community Action Committee (TBCAC) member. “Enough is enough, we are fighting for Black and brown lives, for justice, and will continue to be out here until change takes place.”

Jonas’s family and community activists are also demanding the police release all autopsy documents and footage of the incident. Tampa’s head public prosecutor, State Attorney Andrew Warren, has repeatedly voiced his support for TPD’s official account and stated that no officers will be charged and investigated for any crime. This comes during a period of federal repression towards anti-racist activists.

“TPD continues to change their story and cover up evidence surrounding what is clearly a police murder of Jonas Joseph,” stated TBCAC member Matt Wheat. “We joined NAARPR’s day of protest not only to demand justice for him, but also to stand in solidarity with all activists around the country who are facing harsh attacks just for standing up for what's right.”

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