FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla .– Dozens of protesters packed the Federal Freeway in Boynton Beach on Saturday afternoon to demand accountability in the death of a 13-year-old who died after fleeing from police on his off-road motorcycle.
Stanley Davis III was at a Chevron gas station, filling the tank of his off-road motorcycle he had gotten for Christmas the day before.
Davis was followed by police and quickly lost control, crashing onto the sidewalk in the median. He died at the scene.
“The officer was completely wrong,” protester Todd Johnson said. “I need him to go to jail.”
Protesters ran the engines of motorcycles and off-road motorcycles for 45 minutes at the Chevron and the nearby ACE equipment parking lot, with many people holding signs along the roadway. There was no police presence on this stretch of highway until the demonstration moved to another location.
“People are angry right now,” Johnson said. “That’s what the officer did, he could have done it a whole different way.”
Protesters want the video. Although the police vehicle involved in this incident was not equipped with a dashcam, a police spokeswoman said the body camera video was turned over to the Florida Highway Patrol.
“We want transparency,” protester Olen Whitely said. “We are here for justice.
The police agency declined to identify the officer or how long he had been with the agency, citing de Marsy’s Law, a state law meant to protect the rights of victims. They will also not give details of how the accident happened, other than to say that after the driver was “observed driving recklessly”, the police “attempted a traffic stop and the all-terrain motorcycle fell in the 800 block of the Federal North Highway “.
All-terrain vehicles are prohibited from being used on public roads according to Florida law.
Family and friends accuse the police department of carrying out a PIT maneuver, which is when the police can force a fleeing car out of control and come to a stop by hitting it. But Police Chief Michael Gregory said at a press conference last weekend he did not see or hear any evidence that the officer struck Stanley or his bicycle.
Still, police officials will not say under what circumstances the off-road motorcycle came to a stop. When asked on Saturday if there had been a PIT maneuver, police spokeswoman Stephanie Slater referred questions to the Florida Highway Patrol, which is leading the investigation. A spokesperson for the Florida Highway Patrol could not immediately be reached for comment.
The family of the 13-year-old told the Sun Sentinel during the protest that the child will be buried next Saturday. Nationally recognized civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump confirmed by email on Saturday that he took the case.
The child’s father, Stanley Davis Jr., said the family had questions. “When there is no more breath in me, I will stop,” he said.
Stanley’s mother Shannon Thompson said her heart was torn. She said he was her only child. She said that despite previous reports identifying her child as Stanley Davis, Jr., he was the Stanley Davis III.
“He’s all I’ve got,” she said.
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