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Fired Boynton Beach police officer should get job back, arbitrator rules

Mark Sohn terminated for role in 2021 pursuit of 13-year-old boy who died in dirt bike crash
Mark Sohn, fired Boynton Beach police officer
Posted at 11:55 AM, May 29, 2024

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — A former veteran Boynton Beach police officer can get his job back after he was fired for his role in the 2021 pursuit of a 13-year-old boy who died after crashing his dirt bike, an arbitrator has ruled.

Mark Sohn, a 20-year veteran of the Boynton Beach Police Department, was terminated in August of 2022 after an Internal Affairs investigation found he violated the police department's "Vehicular Pursuit And Apprehension" policy.

The Florida Highway Patrol said Stanley Davis III was recklessly driving a dirt bike — going 85 mph — on Boynton Beach Boulevard just before 1 p.m. on Dec. 26, 2021.

When Sohn attempted to make a traffic stop, Davis took off and lost control of the dirt bike, colliding with a median curb in the 800 block of North Federal Highway.

Stanley Davis III dirt bike crash scene in Boynton Beach
Stanley Davis III was killed in a dirt bike crash after an attempted traffic stop by Boynton Beach police in December 2021.

The FHP investigation found that Sohn did not act improperly while pursuing Davis and should not face any criminal charges. The report added there was no physical contact between Sohn's vehicle and Davis' dirt bike.

According to an arbitration document between the City of Boynton Beach and the Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association, the city did not have "just cause" to fire Sohn.

As a result, arbitrator James Mastriani said Sohn should be reinstated "within a reasonable period of time" to the Boynton Beach Police Department. However, he should not receive back pay, benefits, or seniority "from the time of termination to the time of his reinstatement."

In addition, his pay rate should remain the same.

In a written news release, Chelsea Sanabia, the public affairs coordinator for the City of Boynton Beach, said that "while the city proved [Sohn] violated the pursuit policy at arbitration, the arbitrator determined that Mr. Sohn is entitled to his job back without back pay."

Sanabia added that "the city has 90 days to consider all legal options."

The family of Stanley Davis III issued this statement to WPTV.

"The family, community members, supporters & along with those seeking justice are extremely saddened, disappointed & outraged over the recent decision of the arbitrator in this important and highly significant, unfair death of our child, Stanely Davis III.

This decision to recommend Mark Sohn return to the department is an affront to justice and justice seekers in Boynton Beach and surrounding communities. It is yet another severe proverbial slap of injustice to the child victim(Stanley Davis III), our family & community. We are calling on the City of Boynton Beach to do what’s right and see this case to justice in every imaginable way.

We will not stand idly by and allow this egregious act of disregard and disrespect to be done to our family & the memory of our beloved Stanley Davis III, who was loved throughout the community. Our family won’t stop seeking justice until justice is duly served."