TAMPA, Florida (TUSEN) — A Florida sheriff has been ordered by a jury to pay $15 million to the parents of a teen who died trying to cross a highway after being thrown from the state fairground by deputies.
The 10-member jury reached a verdict in Tampa federal court Thursday night in the case of Andrew Joseph III, a black 14-year-old who was killed on Interstate 4 in 2014 after being thrown off the Florida State Fair after a riot. involving several teenagers.
The jury’s verdict culminates in more than six years of legal action. Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, who could appeal the verdict, issued a statement Friday expressing his condolences to the Joseph family.
“Losing a child is a heartbreaking and eternal sadness that no parent should experience, and we continue to hold the Joseph family in our prayers,” Chronister said in an email.
The jury found the chronicler’s ward 90% responsible for the child’s death, and Joseph was awarded 10%. The money is split equally between his parents, Andrew Joseph Jr. and Deanna Joseph.
“That kid didn’t do anything wrong,” Joseph Jr. said. after the verdict, according to the media. “Fifteen million (dollars) have some respect for it.”
“We are thrilled at this point,” added Deanna Joseph.
The teen ended up on Interstate 4 after he and others were thrown off the fairground for what deputies described as an altercation, including knocking over honest customers and stealing from vendors.
Lawyers for the defendants said Joseph declined an offer for a ride from his football coach and instead decided to cross the highway to reach the main entrance.
“It was unpredictable that anyone would leave and enter the highway,” attorney Robert Fulton said.
The prosecutors’ lawyer said the boy should never have been placed in such a vulnerable situation by the authorities.
“A child should never have been placed in this position,” attorney Chris Anulewicz told the jury. “He shouldn’t have been put in a position to do this alone.”