Protesters outside police headquarters in Boynton Beach, Florida on Tuesday night called for the firing of the officer involved inof a 13-year-old boy on a motorcycle during a traffic stop attempt Sunday, CBS West Palm Beach affiliate WPEC-TV reports. They also pressed for openness from the department about what happened during the incident.
Police say the boy was riding the motorcycle recklessly as he “went down” on the North Federal Highway. The officer is on paid leave while the Florida Highway Patrol investigates.
Video, WPEC obtained, shows the boy, Stanley Davis Jr., also known as “SJ”, pulling up at a Chevron gas station shortly before the incident. He goes inside to pay, wearing a helmet. Then he drives away and a police car follows him down the street.
Davis drives out of the frame and then circles back with the police car close behind.
About three blocks later, Davis was dead.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol incident report, Davis was driving north on US Highway 1 when he lost control of his cross motorcycle and hit the curb of the median. The impact sent him into a one-way sign on the median before landing on the road.
The Boynton Beach Police Department said the police vehicle involved did not have a dashcam.
“At this point in the preliminary investigation, I have not seen any evidence or heard any witness say the officer’s vehicle came in contact with the bike,” Police Chief Michael G. Gregory said at a briefing Sunday.
The department’s prosecution policy states that an officer can only chase a suspect if they believe the person has committed a felony. Whether the officer violated the department’s policy in this incident is still under investigation, the WPEC reported.
The protesters shouted “Justice for SJ,” the station said.
Stanley’s other cyclists say this tragic incident could have been avoided if there was a place in town where teenagers could ride safely on their bikes.
“We’ve been begging for a place to ride for years now, we used to take two to three hours away just to ride,” Tyra Simmons, a family friend and co-rider, told the WPEC.
Sunday and spoke to members of the local community who were both saddened and angry at the boy’s death.
“My statement to them was that we should not blame the police department for the actions of an individual officer, but the city and the police are responsible,” Grant said Monday in an interview with the WPEC.
Davis was black, and given the city’s history, the mayor said he understands why some believe race played a role in this tragedy.
“The situation that created this did not happen just yesterday; this is an aspect of how the city has treated parts of the city for decades, even before I was mayor. So the city is trying to work with the community to get a solution so that is safer for everyone, “Grant said.