Remove Qualified immunity
Andrew Joseph III was a 14-year-old Black teen attending “Student Day” at the Florida State Fair in Tampa back in 2014. After sheriff deputies racially targeted, harassed, physically searched, and unjustly removed Andrew from the fair, making no attempt to contact the middle-schooler’s parents, Andrew was dropped off on the side of a busy interstate 2 miles from the fair. And right before they dropped him off, they took a mugshot-style photo of him.
In an attempt to find his way back home, crossing the interstate, Andrew was hit and killed by a white motorist, who was never breathalyzed or held by law enforcement. To this day no one from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has been held accountable.
Andrew’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit and requested that an investigation be conducted by the Department of Justice which was denied. Next, they took their fight to the White House where they were rejected from speaking with the assistant attorney general.
It’s been more than 7 years since Andrew’s death and his family still has no answers. Police continue to use the unjust legal claim of “qualified immunity” to stall, drag out, and attempt to block Andrew’s family from having their day in court. Yesterday, Andrew’s family was in Atlanta presenting oral arguments in hopes of overcoming yet another appeal filed by Hillsborough County Sheriffs.
The dragged out process of getting accountability is something that Black families have had to deal with for far too long. That’s why it should be a top priority for Congress and the White House to end qualified immunity to end the prioritization of protecting white supremacy in policing and start prioritizing the safety of our people.
Police need to be held accountable for their actions, and cannot continue to hide behind the guise of qualified immunity. Join us in demanding that Congress and the White House take action immediately, and make ending qualified immunity a top priority.