Ever since Andrew Joseph III was killed by a car after being ejected from the Florida State Fairgrounds by Hillsborough County Sheriffs in 2014, his family has been fighting for justice. Not just for their own family, but for others in Tampa Bay. One way they give back to the community is through annual back-to-school drives, and another one takes place this weekend in Riverview.
The Andrew Joseph Foundation, with the support of other organizations that donated supplies, will provide backpacks, school supplies, and PPE this Saturday, Aug. 7, 2021 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at The Riverview Raiders Athletic Complex located at 5417 Providence Rd.
They’ll also take the day to raise awareness about safety for children with gun safety literature, and help link students with tutoring needs to educational support.
Prior to the untimely death of 14-year-old Andrew Joseph III, he played for the Riverview Raiders.
“He was known as a team player and friend to many and his memory resonates in the countless days and hours he and children alike spend at this field,” says a press release from the Andrew Joseph Foundation, which is “committed to our mission of ensuring the safety and protection of every child. “
In 2014, Andrew Joseph III went to the Hillsborough County School District-sponsored student day at Florida State Fairgrounds.
Although he had not been charged with a crime, Joseph's family claims that he was detained, searched, and photographed by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. They say he was removed by HCSO officers, and no one from the fairgrounds, nor the Sheriff’s Office made any attempts to contact his parents. Tragically, he was struck by a vehicle and killed while trying to cross the interstate.
“To this day, there has been no accountability by those involved,” the press release from his family reads. “Today, in wake of this tragedy, a global legacy has been built to ensure no child dies a senseless death due to failure of adults to serve and protect.”
“The protection of our children has no expiration date,” Deanna Hardy-Joseph, Andrew’s mother, told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay.
In an email to CL, HCSO said Joseph made an attempt to "cross a busy highway, and it was during that time that he was unfortunately struck by a passing vehicle." HCSO said detectives who investigated Joseph's death blamed the teen's death on the fact that we was "running across a highway in the dark, not wearing reflective clothing, in an area that was not designated as a crosswalk," adding that Joseph was never arrested, but only ejected from the fair.
Hardy-Joseph says the children on the roster of the Tampa Bay Youth Football and Cheer League will be holding scrimmages and a cheer competition during the event.
Due to COVID-19 and the rise of the delta variant, masks are to be worn at the outdoor sports complex.
UPDATED: 08/09/21 2 p.m. Updated with comment from HCSO, which said Joseph was not arrested or ejected, but ejected as part of a larger group ejected from the fair.
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