TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The family of a 26-year-old Tampa man gunned down by police in April is seeking answers and documents pertaining to the case.
“April 28, Jonas was killed. He was murdered by Tampa police. Jonas did nothing wrong. Nothing wrong,” said June Altidor, a cousin of Jonas Joseph.
The family gave 8 On Your Side a copy of a video they say was taken the night of the incident. The video contains no audio. It was shot by an eyewitness who they claim will contradict the police’s account.
“It shows the Tampa Police Department firing into the car Jonas was in,” said Pastor Carl Soto of Black Lives Matter Restoration Polk, the group looking into the shooting.
Officers conducted a traffic stop on East Palifox Street involving a white Chevy Impala that matched the description of a car used in a separate crime.
They explained that the driver pulled into a driveway area of a home. After putting the Impala into reverse, Joseph hit a police vehicle before trying to flee. The Impala crashed into a tree almost immediately.
Joseph then began to shoot at the officers, police said. Officers were forced to fire back, hitting and killing Joseph. They said they found a second gun in the car.
Five police officers, ranging from six to 21 years with TPD, were placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure for any officer-involved shooting. It is unclear if the officers are back on the streets.
“We will not stop until we see criminal charges against the officers involved,” Soto said.
Joseph’s heartbroken mother could barely speak to reporters.
“(They) shot Jonas by life, for no reason! Jonas got killed over 60 times,” Otancile Colas said, referring to 60 shots fired, which the family claims.
The case is yet another one where two sides differ greatly on what happened. Many similar cases have been thrust into the spotlight following the death of George Floyd in police custody.
“When a black child or black man or a black woman is murdered in the United States, the first thing that happens to us is the faults. Like, it’s our fault that we got murdered. It’s our fault we (got) murdered. Today we say no more,” said Michelle Williams, a Tampa activist who spoke alongside family members Wednesday.
The Office of State Attorney Andrew Warren is investigating the case and the officers’ actions, which is protocol with officer-involved shootings.
“As with any officer-involved shooting, we are committed to a complete and exhaustive investigation,” said Grayson Kamm, a spokesman for the office. “If anyone has information that we should be made aware of, please contact our office.”
When reached by phone Wednesday, a spokesman for Tampa police had no comment on the family’s claims.
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