In South Florida, a 13-year-old Black teen was chased by a cop and fatally crashed during the encounter. The mayor of Boynton Beach said "the city and police” are responsible for his death.
The child was identified as Stanley Davis Jr., a member of the Boynton Beach Bulldogs football team.
On Sunday afternoon, Davis was riding his red and white dirt bike when he stopped for gas. A Boynton Beach police SUV had entered the gas station from the back of the parking lot.
Surveillance footage showed Davis leaving the gas station and the police SUV following him to perform a traffic stop for "reckless driving." For a brief moment they both go out of view and then reappear.
Both make a turn onto North Federal Highway.
Moments later, Davis crashes into a sign in the median. He was pronounced dead on the scene.
The officer involved in the traffic stop is on paid leave while the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) conducts an investigation.
Stanly David Sr.—heartbroken over this tragedy and the loss of his son—said:
“A great football player, great big brother, loving son."
"All around perfect kid never had any issues with him."
Mayor Steven B. Grant spoke with community members near the scene.
He told CBS12 News:
“My statement to them was we should not blame the police department for the actions of an individual officer; however the city and police are responsible."
Chief Michael G. Gregory of the Boynton Beach Police Department (BBPD) gave a press conference along with the FHP.
"Our hearts go out to the family members of this young person, and they can trust that we and our law enforcement partners will be conducting a series of thorough and meticulous investigations into the circumstances of what occurred.”
“Can’t say how difficult it is to think of the loss of somebody as young as 13 years old."
“Such a bright future ahead of them."
"I know our community is upset.”
According to the BBPD Twitter account, people gathered outside the police department to protest their concerns about the incident.
The police have also said the car involved with the crash did not have a dashcam.
"At this point, in the preliminary investigation, I am not seeing any evidence or heard any witnesses testimony that states that the officer's vehicle came in contact with the dirt bike."
Davis' grandmother, Tina Hunter, shared her thoughts about what happened.
“They chased him, chased him."
"He just panicked because he’s a kid."
"Chased him right to his damn grave."
She believes the officer's actions were racially motivated.
Hunter doesn't think there will be any justice for Davis.
“[They] figured he’s just another Black boy and ain’t nothing is going to be done."
"That’s the prejudice of the Boynton Beach police that we’ve been having problems for all these damn years.”
Grant made similar statements about racism in Boynton.
“The situation that created this didn’t happen just yesterday, this is an aspect of how the city has treated parts of the city for decades, even before I was mayor.”
Earlier this year, the City of Boynton shared the racial history of the area starting in 1890 when Black families first began farming before the city was established.
The timeline also covers the beginning of segregation in 1924, how the city took the Black community's land and up until the establishment of the Boynton Beach City Library Local History Archives in 2016.
The mayor could be referencing these historical markers of oppression but also could be referring to events as recent as the Florida appeals court reversed ruling on Tasha Ford. Ford recently was arrested for filming the police as they arrested her son.
"So, the city is trying to work with the community to get a resolution so that it’s safer for everyone."
The Boynton Beach Bulldogs posted a tribute to Davis showcasing the "illuminating smile" he was known for.
The community is also finding the scenario to be suspicious.
Our thoughts and condolences go to the family and friends of Davis Jr.