Family of David Joseph plans to sue the city over police shooting

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Tuesday night a crowd gathered outside the Travis County Justice Complex to protest a grand jury decision not to indict an Austin police officer in the shooting death of an unarmed teenager.

The Austin Justice Coalition and Black Lives Matter movement planned the event. About 50 people stood in a circle at the corner of Guadalupe and 10th streets to hold signs and share remarks on why Officer Geoffrey Freeman should be facing criminal charges after killing 17-year-old David Joseph in February 2016.

Even though a criminal trial is out of the question, the legal battle is not over for the Joseph family. One of their attorneys, Jeff Edwards, is getting ready for their next move.

CITY OF AUSTIN SETTLEMENTS
(since 2005)
Daniel Rocha – 2005: $1 million
Kevin Brown – 2007: $1 million
Nathaniel Sanders – 2009: $750,000
Larry Jackson Jr. – 2013: $1.85 million

“The force Officer Freeman used was excessive, unreasonable and unjustifiable,” said Jeff Edwards, an attorney for the Joseph family. “It will likely be tied to other practices in the city of Austin and we’ll be filing suit,” said Edwards.

The city of Austin and taxpayers are about to get hit with another civil rights lawsuit.

“We will hold officer Freeman accountable. We will hold the city accountable,” said Edwards.

The Joseph family plans on following in the footsteps of other grieving families who have lost a loved one at the hands of an Austin police officer.

A search of past KXAN stories reveals since 2005, the Austin city council has voted to settle four out of five lawsuits tied to deadly police shootings. The only civil case that went to trial was the 2011 death of Byron Carter, and the city won.

The four other deadly police shootings that resulted in a settlements paid for by taxpayers totaled $4.6 million.

There is one more lawsuit in limbo. The attorney for Ahmede Bradley’s family, Bobby Taylor, tells KXAN the case is still tied up in federal court.

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