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Family seeks answers after teen dies in Broward canal following police chase

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Posted at 4:21 PM, Jan 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-02 16:29:02-05

The family of a Fort Lauderdale teen who died after jumping in a canal following an alleged car robbery are asking why police didn’t do more to keep their family member from dying.

Tequila Waters, the mother of 16-year-old Damian Martin, was joined by members of the Broward County chapters of both the NAACP and Black Lives Matter, as well as famed civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump, during a Thursday morning press conference asking for answers from the Sunrise Police Department.

"He was a good kid. He did not deserve this," Waters said in front of the canal where the oldest of her six children died. "We know this for a fact. They watched him drown."

Martin jumped into the canal after the March 8th incident in Sunrise. Family members say that he was struggling to breath while officers stood on the bank and watched, alleging preventing people from jumping in to save the teen.

"Witnesses watched as her son drowned as she has questioned (police) over and over with no answers," Crump said, adding the family is planning to send a notice to Sunrise Police of intent to file a lawsuit.

Waters has spoken out during previous events, notably after the rough arrest of another teen by Broward Sheriff’s deputies in April of 2019.

"What we're seeking is answers," said Marsha Ellison, President of the Broward NAACP branch. "We don't deserve any less justice than any other member of this community."

Sunrise Police, in an email to NBC News, said they spoke with Waters as well as her attorneys and others during an April meeting and provided her with information they could at the time.

Story from our news partner NBC 6