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Relatives of gun violence victims rally in support of Tampa teen's death lawsuit against HCSO

The parents of Andrew Joseph III are suing the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and blaming them for their 14-year-old son’s death.

TAMPA, Fla. — Testimony continued this week in the wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of Andrew Joseph III.

Joseph’s parents are suing the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, blaming them for their 14-year-old son’s death after he was ejected and unsupervised from the Florida State fair in 2014.

On Wednesday, people from around the country and relatives of African Americans killed in historic and recent high-profile police cases gathered in front of the federal courthouse in Tampa.

They share names from the lives lost such as Oscar Grant, Breonna Taylor, Jacob Blake and Emmet Till.

“Other families have also been through this terrible trauma. They often say that they’re part of a club that nobody wants to be in,” Melina Abdullah with Black Lives Matter said.

They traveled here to support the family of Joseph and their lawsuit.

The Joseph’s are suing HCSO $30 million, saying the agency violated their son’s civil rights by ejecting him from the fairgrounds on student day in 2014, dropping him outside the gates with no supervision - and without contacting a parent or a responsible adult.

The 14-year old was then hit and killed by a car two hours later while trying to cross I-4 to find a ride home.

“[We are] Asking for accountability,” Cephus Johnson, the uncle of Oscar Grant, said. “[We are] Supporting this family so that we can see accountability take place."

In addition to their emotional support, the families are united and motivated in their battle against something called qualified immunity. These are laws that shield government and law enforcement agencies from civil lawsuits.

It’s an issue many people outside of the courtroom have faced themselves and a legal hurdle the Joseph family spent eight and half years battling to finally have their day in court.

“I want to see the end of qualified immunity,” Magnolia Carter, a relative of Emmett Hill, said. “I want to see the justice for this family that they deserve.”

The trial, which started Monday, is expected to last about two weeks. Demonstrators have vowed to be at the federal courthouse in Tampa every day of trial in support of the Joseph family.

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