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‘We’re here for justice’: Street protest held in Boynton Beach after teen’s death following officer chase

Sun Sentinel logoSun Sentinel 1/2/2022 Lisa J. Huriash, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Protesters gather at the makeshift memorial for 13-year-old Stanley Davis III on Federal Highway in Boynton Beach on Saturday, January 1, 2022. The teen died in a crash, after he left a gas station on his brand-new, red dirt bike - darting off as a police SUV approached. His family and protesters argue the child's death could've been avoided had the officer not followed behind. © Mike Stocker / South Florida/Sun Sentinel Protesters gather at the makeshift memorial for 13-year-old Stanley Davis III on Federal Highway in Boynton Beach on Saturday, January 1, 2022. The teen died in a crash, after he left a gas station on his brand-new, red dirt bike - darting off as a police SUV approached. His family and protesters argue the child's death could've been avoided had the officer not followed behind.

Scores of protestors crammed Federal Highway in Boynton Beach on Saturday afternoon to demand accountability in the death of a 13-year-old who died after fleeing police on his dirt bike.

Protesters gather at the makeshift memorial for 13-year-old Stanley Davis III on Federal Highway in Boynton Beach on Saturday, January 1, 2022. The teen died in a crash, after he left a gas station on his brand-new, red dirt bike - darting off as a police SUV approached. His family and protesters argue the child's death could've been avoided had the officer not followed behind. © Mike Stocker / South Florida/Sun Sentinel Protesters gather at the makeshift memorial for 13-year-old Stanley Davis III on Federal Highway in Boynton Beach on Saturday, January 1, 2022. The teen died in a crash, after he left a gas station on his brand-new, red dirt bike - darting off as a police SUV approached. His family and protesters argue the child's death could've been avoided had the officer not followed behind.

Also, Saturday, nationally known civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump confirmed he has taken the case. “We have to say you can’t do this to our children,” he said.

He vowed a “very public demand for transparency.”

Last Sunday, Stanley Davis III had been at a Chevron gas station, filling up the tank of his dirt bike he got for Christmas the day before.

Davis was followed by police, and soon lost control, crashing into the curb in the median. He died at the scene.

“The officer was dead wrong,” said protestor Todd Johnson. “I need him to go to jail.”

Protestors revved up dirt bike and motorcycle engines for 45 minutes at the Chevron and in the parking lot of the neighboring ACE Hardware, many people holding signs along the roadway. There was no police presence on that stretch of highway until after the protest moved to another location.

Sally Hickmon and her 5-year-old-grandson Trenton Hickmon gather at the makeshift memorial for 13-year-old Stanley Davis III on Federal Highway in Boynton Beach on Saturday, January 1, 2022. The teen died in a crash, after he left a gas station on his brand-new, red dirt bike - darting off as a police SUV approached. His family and protesters argue the child's death could've been avoided had the officer not followed behind. © Mike Stocker / South Florida/Sun Sentinel Sally Hickmon and her 5-year-old-grandson Trenton Hickmon gather at the makeshift memorial for 13-year-old Stanley Davis III on Federal Highway in Boynton Beach on Saturday, January 1, 2022. The teen died in a crash, after he left a gas station on his brand-new, red dirt bike - darting off as a police SUV approached. His family and protesters argue the child's death could've been avoided had the officer not followed behind.

“People are angry right now,” Johnson said. “It’s what the officer did, he could have gone about it a whole different way.”

Protestors want video. Although the police vehicle involved in this incident is not equipped with a dashcam, a police spokeswoman said bodycam video has been turned over to the Florida Highway Patrol.

“We want transparency,” said protestor Olen Whitely. “We’re here for justice.”

Protesters gather for a protest for 13-year-old Stanley Davis III on Federal Highway in Boynton Beach on Saturday, January 1, 2022. The teen died in a crash, after he left a gas station on his brand-new, red dirt bike - darting off as a police SUV approached. His family and protesters argue the child's death could've been avoided had the officer not followed behind. © Mike Stocker / South Florida/Sun Sentinel Protesters gather for a protest for 13-year-old Stanley Davis III on Federal Highway in Boynton Beach on Saturday, January 1, 2022. The teen died in a crash, after he left a gas station on his brand-new, red dirt bike - darting off as a police SUV approached. His family and protesters argue the child's death could've been avoided had the officer not followed behind.

The police agency has refused to identify the officer or how long he has been with the agency, invoking Marsy’s Law, a state law intended to protect the rights of victims. Nor will they give details of how the accident happened other than saying that after the driver was “observed driving recklessly,” the police “attempted a traffic stop, and the dirt bike went down in the 800 block of North Federal Highway.”

Protesters gather at the makeshift memorial for 13-year-old Stanley Davis Jr. on Federal Highway in Boynton Beach on Saturday, January 1, 2022. The teen died in a crash, after he left a gas station on his brand-new, red dirt bike - darting off as a police SUV approached. His family and protesters argue the child's death could've been avoided had the officer not followed behind. © Mike Stocker / South Florida/Sun Sentinel Protesters gather at the makeshift memorial for 13-year-old Stanley Davis Jr. on Federal Highway in Boynton Beach on Saturday, January 1, 2022. The teen died in a crash, after he left a gas station on his brand-new, red dirt bike - darting off as a police SUV approached. His family and protesters argue the child's death could've been avoided had the officer not followed behind.

Off-road vehicles are prohibited from being used on public roadways according to Florida law.

Family and friends accuse the police department of conducting a PIT maneuver, which is when police can force a fleeing car to lose control and stop by bumping it. But Police Chief Michael Gregory said at a news conference last weekend he has not seen or heard any evidence that the officer struck Stanley or his bike.

Still, police officials won’t say under what circumstances the dirt bike stopped. When asked Saturday whether there was a PIT maneuver, police spokeswoman Stephanie Slater referred questions to the Florida Highway Patrol, which is conducting the investigation. A spokesman for the Florida Highway Patrol could not be immediately reached for comment.

Crump said he’s not yet convinced dashcam video doesn’t exist, and he’ll be taking the police department to court to find out who the officer is so he can comb files to see if there’s a history of problematic chases.

Crump said he wants to make sure the agency doesn’t “sweep it under the rug as if this 13-year-old black child’s life doesn’t matter.”

He said witnesses have reported it was the “police officer driving recklessly in pursuit of this 13-year-old child on this motorbike and the fact they believe this police officer caused this young man to be killed.

“We have to have police officers look to protect and serve our children like they do children in other communities.”

The family of the 13-year-old told the Sun Sentinel at the protest that the child will be buried next Saturday.

The child’s father, Stanley Davis Jr., said the family has questions. “When there’s no more breath left in me, I’ll stop,” he said.

Stanley’s mother, Shannon Thompson, said her heart was ripped. She said he was her only child. She said despite earlier reports identifying her child as Stanley Davis, Jr., he is Stanley Davis III.

“He’s all I have,” she said.

Lisa J. Huriash can be reached at lhuriash@sunsentinel.com or 954-572-2008 or Twitter @LisaHuriash

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