Four years later: Remembering Andrew Joseph III

Weekend events will commemorate the death of a teenager after he was ejected from the Florida State Fair, and renew the call for answers.

click to enlarge Four years later: Remembering Andrew Joseph III
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It's going on four years since 14-year-old Andrew Joseph III was hit by a car while trying to cross I-4 on foot in 2014.

Police had just ejected Joseph and dozens of other teens from the Florida State Fair after violence broke out on the event's annual Student Day.

Four years on, his family is still seeking answers, and have sued police and fair organizers over their handling of the case and what they saw as Florida State Fair staff's insensitivity toward the victim and his family as well as suspicions of racial profiling. And as they look to hold authorities accountable, they're leading the call for an end to systemic racism.

This weekend, the Restorative Justice Coalition,  Bay Area Dream Defenders and other community advocacy groups are planning to hold a series of events commemorating Joseph and demanding change.

The big event is a Friday night protest and rally in the "free speech zone" at the fairgrounds, where activists will call for a number of things, including "a genuine, written apology from the fairgrounds admitting fault," that fairgrounds staff donate a percentage of the event's proceeds to the Andrew Joseph III Foundation, that a memorial to Joseph be placed within the fairgrounds and that fair staff receive implicit bias training from an outside organization.

A sign-making event at St. Petersburg's Community Cafe is set for Thursday from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

On Friday, they plan on meeting up at the Wing House location at 5001 U.S. Highway 301 N. at 5 p.m. and carpooling to the fairgrounds from there. 

Then on Saturday at four, the RJC and other groups are meeting again at the Portico at 1001 N. Florida Ave. in Tampa for another event to honor Joseph's life.

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