Memorial for teen killed during Florida State Fair set for Saturday

click to enlarge Local activist Ashley Green takes part in a rally calling for justice in the case of Andrew Joseph III. - Kelly Benjamin/Facebook
Kelly Benjamin/Facebook
Local activist Ashley Green takes part in a rally calling for justice in the case of Andrew Joseph III.

Andrew Joseph III was just 14 when he was hit by a car while trying to cross I-4 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. 

Two years later, his family is still seeking answers.

This week they finally filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Department, the Florida State Fair Authority and the Hillsborough County School District, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

On Saturday, the Josephs are planning to lead a memorial event at the University of South Florida Marshall Center. U.S. Congressman Alan Grayson, an Orlando-area Democrat currently running for U.S. Senate, will deliver the keynote.

For many in the social justice activism community, Joseph's case is symptom of a bigger social problem: institutional racism.

Many believe the way the situation was handled, both before and after the incident, is a result of law enforcement's indifference or even malevolence toward African Americans, especially young black males.

Joseph's father, Andrew Joseph Jr., has been been vocal on issues concerning police accountability, and often speaks at events and rallies the local Black Lives Matter affiliate and Tampa Bay Dream Defenders organized.

The hope is not only for justice in the case of the son he still mourns, but also social reform that could prevent such tragedies in the future.

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