David Joseph—Unarmed 17-Year-Old—Murdered by Austin Police

February 15, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


From a reader in Texas:

David Joseph, murdered by Austin, TX policeDavid Joseph

Monday, February 8, in broad daylight, 17-year-old Black high school senior David Joseph was shot by Austin, Texas, police officer Geoffrey Freeman. After receiving calls about a tall, thin Black man acting erratically in a North Austin apartment complex, a police dispatcher called Freeman to the scene. The dispatcher can be heard saying that the “suspect” was “unarmed.” When Freeman approached him, Joseph was unarmed and not wearing any clothes. Freeman claims that the youth, ignoring his commands, charged at him. The cop shot him twice. David Joseph was pronounced dead shortly after in the hospital.

Yet another unarmed Black person—this time, a high school student clearly having health/mental problems—shot in cold blood by a cop!

The police department and the city have gone into overdrive to both justify this murder and to chill out the anger that is widespread in this supposedly “progressive” city. Police Chief Art Acevedo says that there is dash-cam video but has so far refused to release it to the public. He says that the shooting itself took place outside of the view of the camera. However, there is audio recording which begins as Freeman is issuing his orders to Joseph—and as acknowledged by APD chief of staff Brian Marley, the shooting took place within “a matter of seconds.”

Several protests at city hall and APD headquarters demanded justice for David Joseph. Acevedo called this incident “tragic” and promised a quick internal investigation. Acevedo claimed that Austin is a model of police-civilian cooperation, and expressed hope that once again that would be the case. He referred to a recent example where the family of Larry Jackson, a Black man, received nearly $2 million in a lawsuit settling a case where Jackson was shot in the back of the neck and murdered by a police officer. The prosecutor led the grand jury to find no basis to indict the cop, who has since retired from the APD.

Many people are questioning why lethal force was used when David Joseph was clearly unarmed. Many have stated that police have no clue how to deal with people with mental issues, where all too often instead of getting help, the person is killed. In response, the police department, with plenty of help from local news media, is spinning another variation of the nauseatingly repeated police claim that “I feared for my life.”

Friends and family of David Joseph are stunned by his murder. David played football and soccer and was known as a thoughtful and amiable youth. Shortly after the murder, a vigil took place in the spot where he was killed, and a memorial was set up there.

We don’t need “police-civilian cooperation”! This fight is not over, and people will continue to demand answers and demand justice for David Joseph.



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