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Friday, January 20, 2023

The Anesson Joseph Police-Involved Shooting Case

     On February 4, 2014, at eight-thirty in the evening, Douglas Kozlik, a 66-year-old retired New York City police officer on a stroll in Delray Beach, Florida, saw something that caused him great concern. A six-foot-three, 250-pound young man with a crazed look and obvious bad intentions charged toward him. The fact this physically imposing stranger was also naked told the ex-cop he was in imminent danger of being attacked.

     Mr. Kozlik's assessment of the bizarre situation turned out to be correct. Within a matter of seconds he found himself on the ground with the large maniac on top of him throwing punches. A 10-year-old boy not far from the unprovoked assault ran for his life.

     After leaving Mr. Kozlik on the ground badly beaten, the naked menace moved on. At the main entrance of the Colony, a gated neighborhood in Delray Beach, the wild man--later identified as a West Palm Beach 28-year-old named Anesson Joseph--came upon 16-year-old Tania Grein who was taking trash out of her family's house. Tania's 18-year-old brother Tony, who happened to be working in the yard with  his father, tackled Joseph as he grabbed Tania by the hair. The five-foot-six, 150-pound Boynton High School senior began stabbing the nude attacker in the face with a box cutter. The boy's father, Mario Grein, tried to help his children by punching the crazy man in the head.

     Unfazed by the box cutter wounds and the punches to his face, the frenzied man, grunting like an animal, started biting the teenage boy on the cheek and ear. Tony Grein was saved when the automatic security gate closed, knocking the crazy man to the ground. The attacker got to his feet and ran off with the teenager pinned beneath the gate.

     Responding to 911 calls placed by witnesses to Anesson Joseph's rampage, five deputies with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office encountered him not far from the entrance to the Colony. The subject crouched into a fighting stance then charged the officers. Unable to get the subject off his feet and onto the ground, a deputy shot him several times with a taser gun. When that technique failed to subdue Mr. Joseph, a sergeant pulled his gun and shot the subject three times in the torso.

    Fire and rescue personnel rolled up to the scene but were unable to treat the wounded man who was incapacitated but still combative. A few hours later Anesson Joseph died at the Delray Medical Center.

     Mr. Kozlik and Tony Grein were also treated at the hospital for their injuries. The 18-year-old who saved his sister from the zombie-like attacker ended up with teeth marks on his face. The 10-year-old boy had hurt himself when he tried to escape by crawling under a fence. One of the deputy sheriff's also required medical attention.

     According to Anesson Joseph's Facebook page, he worked for a West Palm Beach entertainment company called Nightlife University Parties and Events. Prior to that he had been employed at a local Starbucks. Joseph had attended Forest Hill Community High School and had no criminal record in Florida.

     The Joseph case is reminiscent of a police-involved shooting in Miami that occurred in May 2012. In that assault, a 31-year-old naked man named Rudy Eugene was shot on MacArthur Causeway as he chewed off most of a homeless man's face.

     Investigators believe that Anesson Joseph had removed his striped polo shirt, dark shorts and a pair of flip flops not far from the Kozlik attack. There was speculation that Mr. Joseph had been under the influence of some kind of mind altering drug. Toxicological tests later confirmed this suspicion.

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