On Thursday (September 22), a 10-person jury in Tampa concluded that Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister and his department were mainly responsible for the 2014 death of Andrew Joseph III, one of the teenagers booted from the Florida State Fair by sheriff deputies.
“Losing a child is a heartbreaking and eternal grief that no parent should have to face, and we continue to keep the Joseph family in our prayers,” Chronister said in a statement.
Deputies said they ordered Joseph and several other teens to leave the grounds in 2014 after they knocked over fair patrons and stole from vendors.
According to attorneys for the defendants, Joseph declined a ride from his football coach and instead tried to reach the main gate by crossing Interstate 4, the highway where he was killed.
“It was not foreseeable that someone would leave and enter the interstate,” attorney Robert Fulton argued.
However, an attorney for the Joseph family said authorities shouldn't have left the teen in such a vulnerable position.
"A kid should never have been put in this position,” attorney Chris Anulewicz told the jury. “He should not have been put in the position of trying to do this on his own.
The jury found that the department was 90 percent responsible for Joseph's death, and the teen was assigned 10 percent.
The money will be split evenly between the victim's parents, Andrew Joseph Jr. and Deanna Joseph.
“That child didn’t do nothing wrong,” Joseph Jr. said after the jury reached its verdict. “Fifteen million (dollars) put some respect on it.”
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