Family of naked teen fatally shot by former APD officer speaks with FOX 7
A Travis County grand jury is currently hearing testimony to decide whether to indict former Austin Police Officer Geoffrey Freeman for fatally shooting naked, unarmed teen David Joseph. As the investigation continues, we're hearing from David's family for the first time.
David Joseph’s family shared a video with FOX 7. It shows David dancing in his living room to Michael Jackson. He was 12. His family says even at 17 he would still crank up the music. He was a light in the family.
"He's always smile, smile. I think even when David is asleep he smiles in his sleep,” said mother Ketty Sully.
Ketty Sully is David's mother. In 1994 she escaped the violence in her home country of Haiti with her son Fally who was then a baby.
Her sons Mark and David would be born here in Austin. She was proud they were Americans.
Now, she says she finds herself the victim of what she left behind.
"I want everybody to know David is not only my son. He's everybody's son and daughter. What happened to David. It can happen to everyone,” said Sully.
Sully says the morning of February 8th was normal. Her older sons were getting ready for work. David got dressed for school and the two prayed together before he left.
“He told me 'mom, I love you' and I said I love you too and he's gone,” said Sully.
At 9:20, 9-1-1 calls begin coming in about a black male acting suspiciously around Nature's Bend and an apartment complex off Yager Lane in Northeast Austin.
Officer Geoffrey Freeman responds. At 10:25 a.m. Freeman encounters David walking naked in the roadway. Police say dash camera video shows David running toward Freeman. Freeman gives commands not to move and then fires two shots fatally striking David in the chest and leg.
On March 21st, Freeman was indefinitely suspended for his actions which Chief Art Acevedo deemed not objectively reasonable.
"David didn't have nothing in his hand. Nothing in his pocket. He don't have no clothes on. He didn't have any backpack,” said Sully. “Why somebody like the police still need to be scared of David? If you want to do something just break his leg. His arm, something we can repair. But his life we cannot repair."
David was shot a mile from his home. His family doesn't know what he was doing here or why he was naked.
Toxicology results showed antihistamine, marijuana, and Xanax in David's system, but the family says that does not matter. To them David's behavior screamed of someone who needed help.
"This young man like that don't need to be dead. He needed help. You take a moment and you think, you call back up. When they get there they help you to give this man help,” said Sully.
"I feel like police officers don't really think. They just think that they're sometimes above the law. It may not be all, but the majority, they think I can shoot this kid and get away with it. That's the society we're living in and it hurts,” said David’s brother Fally Joseph.
Fally says Chief Acevedo called him the day Freeman was fired to offer his condolences. At the time, he could not bring himself to talk about what happened. But he says it consumes him as well as his mother and brother Mark.
"I honestly feel like I'm in a dream cause you never wake up to feel what we're feeling. I honestly still see my brother in my dreams and I'm going to wake up and we're going to see each other or he's going to walk through that door,” said Mark Joseph.
"I don't want anyone else to have to go through this again,” said Fally.
While they want to see Freeman go to jail, they feel the justice they seek can only come from God.
"I believe whatever his plan is and what he wants to happen will happen and he's always justice. True justice,” said Mark.
"David is a human being like everyone else. I want everyone to know how I feel and please help me and do everything in our power to give David justice he deserves,” said Sully.
Benefit concert planned for family of David Joseph.