In another chapter in the long narrative of African Americans dying at the hands of police officers, I regretfully add David Joseph. David was 17yrs old and un-armed which is made quite evident because he was naked. This is a bizarre twist in the story that is unknown right now because the “investigation” just began. The other twist here is that the officer that shot David is black so this is not about race. In my opinion this points to a huge fear that the general society has of black people more specifically black men of all ages. How threatened could this officer have felt by a naked 17yr old? We have seen nationally televised images of black men, women and children indiscriminately killed by police officers. Unfortunately this is not a new trend, but what is new is the media access through cell phones and cameras everywhere. The public are shown clear examples of these deaths happening that can’t be justified and then we watch these police literally get away with murder. When you watch these video clips and you hear circumstances like “the victim was naked” you wonder how much more blatant these killings can be.
The fear of African Americans is so evident in America. We have seen examples of kids with toy guns that are the victims of a police drive-by (Tamir Rice). We have seen women die at the hands of police after a routine traffic stop (Sandra Bland). We’ve seen people shot in the back and chocked to death by police and in most every case the situation could have been handled in a non lethal manner. So one has to ask what is going on with law enforcement to make them feel so threatened that they are quicker to use lethal force. Some argue that hip hop and reality shows have painted a grim picture of African Americans but Hollywood has shown white violence for decades and the perception of white Americans is not one that garners immediate violence, simply put there is no excuse for these incidents to be happening. It calls into question the training received by these officers or should I say the blatant disregard of the training they received. It seems that these officers don’t fear any consequences for their actions.
How much longer can this go on before the people take drastic measures? We have marched, we have protested, we have prayed, we have written books, we have even held our money and we still continue to die every day. Are more drastic measures needed?
The report of what happened
Taken from kxan.com
Quotes from Davids friends
* “I don’t understand why he was naked, and why [police] felt the need to shoot him if he didn’t have any weapons,” said Morales.
*“He was very smart. That’s really what I want people to know about him,” is how he is remembered by his friends. “It makes me really upset to think that from the outside looking in they’re gonna think he’s some thug. Whatever was wrong, that’s not how he usually is and he knows better.”
David Joseph, 17, was shot by Officer Geoffrey Freeman, who is also black, in the 1200 block of Natures Bend in North Austin on Monday morning was unarmed. Officer Freeman was originally called to an apartment complex on East Yager Ln for a report of a man chasing another man around the complex. When Freeman arrived, he spoke to the witness but was not able to immediately locate the suspect, until. In a verbal statement given by Freeman at the scene, when he encountered Joseph he gave him several commands to stop, but he continued to “charge” towards him. The Austin Police Department’s Chief of Staff Brian Manley said it was then that Freeman fired the shots at Joseph, which occurred out of frame from the officer’s dash camera.
The dash camera footage will be a key piece of evidence in the case, which was reviewed by Manley at the scene. When asked if other options were used to subdue Joseph and how much time before he was shot, Manley said the dash cameras shows “it was a matter of seconds between when the officer commanded him to stop and when the shots were fired.” At this time they are not releasing how many shots were fired, but neighbors said they heard multiple gunshots.
Manley said there are strict APD policies regarding excessive use of force, which is why their policies will be reviewed when looking at how Officer Freeman responded to Joseph.
The investigation into the shooting will be conducted by Internal Affairs, a citizens review panel and criminal investigators to determine if Freeman was in compliance with the law. The case will also be presented to a grand jury.
GOING IN-DEPTH // Ofc. Freeman’s Training
- Cultural Diversity: 52 hours
- Mental Health: 39 hours
- Racial Profiling: 4 hours
- Use of Force: 34 hours
Source: Texas Commission on Law Enforcement – Personal Information
The autopsy is being conducted by the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office, who will be able to determine if there were any alcohol or drugs in Joseph’s system at the time of the shooting.
Freeman, who has been with the department for 10 years, is currently on administrative duty, which is standard procedure.
The Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas released a statement regarding Officer Freeman: “Officer Freeman is a member of CLEAT and we are representing him throughout the legal and administrative process. He has not been charged with anything.”
Joseph’s family issued a statement Tuesday evening, calling for a fair investigation.
Our family is devastated today by the loss of our beloved son and brother, David. We are shocked and saddened that he was taken from us in an unexpected and violent way, and are struggling to understand how our child was stolen from us by the police.
David was a high school senior, who dreamed of going to college this fall. He played football and soccer for his school, and loved to listen to music. He had a life full of possibilities in front of him.
We want a full and fair investigation into what led Officer Freeman to kill David. David had no weapon. We do not know what lead to his meeting with Officer Freeman, but we know that our David should not have been taken away from us. No family should have to suffer like we are today.”