The mayor of Boynton Beach, Florida, is speaking out about the death of a 13-year old boy on a dirt bike in an attempted traffic stop on Sunday. Police said the boy was driving the dirt bike recklessly when he “went down” on North Federal Highway.
Video obtained by CBS affiliate WPEC shows the boy, Stanley Davis Jr., pulling up at a nearby Chevron gas station shortly before the incident. He goes inside to pay, wearing his helmet. Then he rides away and a police vehicle follows him down the street.
Davis rides out of frame, then circles back, turning north, with the police vehicle close behind.
About three blocks later, Davis was dead.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol incident report, Davis was riding northbound on U.S. Highway 1 when he lost control of his dirt bike and hit the curb of the median. The impact sent him into a one-way sign in the median before landing in the road.
The Boynton Beach Police Department said the police vehicle involved was not equipped with a dashcam.
“At this point in the preliminary investigation, I have not seen any evidence or heard any witness testimony that states the officer’s vehicle came in contact with the dirt bike,” Police Chief Michael G. Gregory said at a briefing Sunday.
Davis’ heartbroken father, Stanley Davis Sr., described his son in an interview with the station as “a great football player, great big brother, loving son. All-around perfect kid, never had any issues with him.”
Mayor Steven B. Grant went to the scene on Sunday and spoke with community members who were both sad and angry about the boy’s death.
“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,” Grant said Monday in an interview with 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 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. So the city is trying to work with the community to get a resolution so that it’s safer for everyone,” Grant said.
The police officer is on paid leave while the Florida Highway Patrol conducts its investigation.
The department’s pursuit policy states that an officer can only chase a suspect if they believe the person committed a forcible felony. Whether the officer violated department policy in this incident is still under investigation, WPEC reported.