BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — High-profile civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump announced Thursday that his legal team will file a wrongful death lawsuit against the Boynton Beach Police Department in connection with the recent death of a local teen.
Stanley Davis III, 13, died Dec. 26 in the 800 block of North Federal Hwy. after his dirt bike crashed as police attempted to pull him over.
Preliminary reports stated that Stanley was seen driving recklessly on Boynton Beach Boulevard when officers tried to make a traffic stop.
Boynton Beach Police said Thursday that Stanley lost control of his bike along North Federal Highway and hit a medium curb near Northeast Eighth Avenue and was ejected.
Police said the teen then hit a one-way sign that was located in the medium and died from his injuries at the scene.
It's unclear what led Davis to lose control of his bike, which he had just received for Christmas.
Crump held a virtual news conference with the boy's family to make the lawsuit announcement.
"A police officer with Boynton Beach engaged in a very dangerous, high-speed pursuit of this 13-year-old child," Crump said Thursday. "We believe he violated pursuit policies that we believe is a pattern and practice of Boynton Beach and in particular of this officer."
Crump said he and his team believe the officer in question was involved in two other high-speed pursuits where a Black person in Boynton Beach ended up dead.
WATCH: Benjamin Crump announces his intent to file a lawsuit in the death of Stanley Davis III
"In 2012, we understand, he was in a pursuit with a gentleman who was killed," Crump said. "In 2016, he was involved in a high-speed pursuit where a 5-year-old child was killed."
Crump said the officer should not have been on street patrol at the time of Stanley's death based on these previous incidents.
"We also believe that the videotape from the dashcam of the police cruiser should be released immediately to try and give some peace and calm, not only to the family but this community," Crump said.
Boynton Beach Police have said there is no dashcam video of the incident, but Crump said they believe otherwise and are talking with the Florida Highway Patrol on the matter.
"Why when he's doing a high-speed pursuit would he not have a dashcam video?" Crump asked. "We understand differently."
Stanley's mother, Shannon Thompson, said during Thursday's news conference that the recent death of her son continues to hurt, and she is angered by the situation.
"Enough is enough. We are tired of things happening, being swept under the rug," Thompson said. "On Dec. 26, 2021, that was the worst day of my life. Jan. 8, 2022, was the saddest day of my life, burying my only child."
After his death, supporters have gathered to express their displeasure with the city and the police department.
"They are going to continue to hear us. They are going to continue to see us until justice is served," Thompson said. "For not only Stanley but for the community, for the other lives that were taken."
The investigation in the case is ongoing. The officer involved, whose name has not been released, remains on administrative leave.
In a statement released Thursday, the FHP did not rule out that there could be police video of the incident.
"This case remains under investigation at the moment. Once the investigation is completed any available dashcam footage will be available for public request," said FHP Lt. Yanko Reyes.
In a statement released Thursday, the Boynton Beach Police reiterated that the officer's vehicle was not equipped with dashcam video.
The police department and the city have six months by law to come forward and try to resolve the matter without litigation.
Below is the full statement released by Boynton Beach Police:
On Dec. 26, 2021, the Boynton Beach Police Department made a commitment to the young boy’s family and our community that there would be a series of objective and comprehensive investigations into this case. These investigations remain in progress. We thank the community for their continued patience as these investigations are given the time and thoroughness they deserve.
The below fact points are intended to provide transparency and clarity to our community as to several mistruths that have been circulating in reference to this incident.
- Shortly after the Dec. 26, 2021 crash, Boynton Beach Police Chief Michael G. Gregory authorized the request for the Florida Highway Patrol to conduct the investigation. The Florida Highway Patrol agreed and immediately responded to the scene. This request was made in an effort to demonstrate objectivity and increase trust in the results of the investigation.
- There are three investigations into this incident. The Florida Highway Patrol is conducting the traffic crash investigation. The Palm Beach County Medical Examiner’s Office is conducting a death investigation, and the Boynton Beach Police Department will conduct an Internal Affairs investigation.
- To date, Chief Gregory has neither seen nor heard of any evidence or witness testimony that states that the officer’s vehicle came in contact with the dirt bike. A press release written by the Florida Highway Patrol and dated Dec. 27, 2021 indicated that “Vehicle 1 (V01) was traveling northbound on US Highway 1 approaching NE 8th Ave in the left lane. The driver of Vehicle-1 failed to maintain control of the vehicle and collided with the median curb. After impact with the median curb, the driver was ejected from Vehicle-1 and collided with a one way sign that was located in the median. The driver of Vehicle-1 came to final rest on southbound US Highway 1 in the left turn lane to NE 8th Ave, facing west in a prone position. After the impact with the median curb, Vehicle-1 was redirected in a northeasterly direction, where it came to final rest in the right lane, facing north. The driver of Vehicle-1 succumbed to the injuries caused by the crash and was pronounced deceased on scene. This case is pending investigation.”
- The Boynton Beach Police Department operated an outdated dash-camera system in its patrol cars until June 2019 when the last cameras stopped functioning. Due to the significant investment the department made just a few years earlier with a Body Worn Camera program, no dash-cameras were replaced at that time. The following year, a new dash-camera system was identified and implemented in a DUI Enforcement car and vehicles assigned to the K9 Unit. The marked police car that was being driven during the attempted the traffic stop in this incident on Dec. 26 is not assigned to the K9 Unit nor the Traffic Unit, and it is not equipped with a dash-camera.
- The Boynton Beach Police Department has turned over all video and other evidence to the Florida Highway Patrol as requested for their investigation.