Family Demand Gretna Officers are Fired After Video Released of Kendole Joseph’s Death

The family of Kendole Joseph, the man who died two days after a confrontation with Gretna police officers, have called for the firing of any officer who hit, kicked or stunned the father of two who suffers from mental illness.

Family spokesman Ja’Mal Green who was standing with relatives in front of the Gretna police headquarters. said “The Gretna Police did not know how to deal with that issue so, instead, they killed him,”

Relatives of Kendole Joseph, 27, have filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit against the Gretna Police Department.

Green and relatives were responding to the release of the surveillance video from the Gretna convenience store, where officers struggled for more than seven minutes to take 27 year old Joseph, into custody on February 7th.

Gretna police officials say the video backs their finding that officers “acted appropriately” and “responded reasonably” to the situation. But relatives said they feel the video proves what they’ve alleged all along: officers used excessive force, which led to Joseph’s death.

Michael Oppenheimer, the attorney handling the family’s federal civil rights lawsuit against the Gretna Police Department spoke about the video and said “Yesterday, I had the brutal task of watching a murder on tape,”

The officers encountered Joseph after 911 operators received multiple calls of a man behaving erratically, including one call from the assistant principal of a nearby school. When the officers arrived Joseph started to run and the officers chased him into the Save A Dollar convenience store located at 2742 Claire Ave, Gretna.

In the video, officers can be seen on top of Joseph as he lies on the floor of the store behind a counter. Joseph was accused of refusing to comply with officers, grabbing for their clothing and equipment and hitting them, Gretna police said.

During the tussle, officers twice Tased Joseph. Other officers punched his jaw and kicked his upper leg in “an attempt to gain compliance,” Gretna police said. They eventually took him into custody and placed him in a patrol car where he lost consciousness. Sadly Joseph was taken to hospital and died two days later.

The Jefferson Parish coroner’s office determined Joseph died of acute schizophrenic psychosis exacerbated by an unusually high level of the antihistamine diphenhydramine — also known by the brand name Benadryl — in his system.

However, Coroner Dr. Gerry Cvitanovich said that three forensic pathologists could not determine Joseph’s manner of death, homicide, suicide, accidental or natural because of the complicated nature of the case.

Relatives pointed out Kendole Joseph’s obviously swollen and battered face in a photograph taken while he was in the hospital that has been shared on social media. The coroner’s office “took the easy way out,” Oppenheimer said, to avoid inflaming the police department.

“The police officer’s beating and Tasing caused his death, and it should be ruled a homicide,” Green said.

Green and Oppenheimer said they believe Joseph was fatally beaten because he was black and mentally ill. Oppenheimer said he intends to file a formal request to have the U.S. Department of Justice investigate the matter.

“If appropriate, which I think it is from that tape, I’m asking for criminal charges to be filed against each and every one of those police officers who went behind that counter, who beat that poor, defenseless, mentally ill man to death for crying out for help,” Oppenheimer said.

Green called for the immediate firing of every officer who struck and Tased Joseph. Justice, he said, also includes reform within the police department and retraining for officers in handling those with mental illness.

Kendole Joseph hadn’t committed a crime that day, he wasn’t armed and he didn’t threaten anyone, relatives said.

“He didn’t do anything that he wasn’t supposed to do,” Katie Joseph said. “He just asked for help. But instead of helping him, they killed him and that wasn’t right.


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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5623 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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