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Attorneys demand officer involved in deadly pursuit of Florida teen be fired

Stanley Davis III, 13, died in a Dec. 26 crash after a Boynton Beach police officer allegedly tried to pull the teen over, officials say.
A 13-year-old boy on a dirt bike died during an attempted traffic stop by Boynton Beach police.
A 13-year-old boy on a dirt bike died during an attempted traffic stop by Boynton Beach police.WPTV

An officer who allegedly tried to pull over a Florida teen riding a dirt bike before he died in a crash has a history of deadly on-duty pursuits and must be fired, said attorneys representing the boy’s family.

Stanley Davis III, 13, died on Dec. 26 shortly after an officer with the Boynton Beach Police Department tried to pull him over, officials said.Lawyers representing Davis' family held a press conference Tuesday and said the officer involved was also the pursuing officer in two other deadly crashes while on the job.

The first was in 2012 and a second, that resulted in the death of a child, occurred in 2016, said lawyer Jasmine Rand. Those who died, like Davis, are Black, Rand said.

The officer has a “20-year documented history of terrorizing Black citizens in Boynton Beach,” she said. Attorneys representing Davis' family, which include high-profile civil rights attorney Ben Crump, have named the officer.

NBC News is not naming the officer because their involvement in December’s alleged pursuit could not be immediately verified. Boynton Beach police and city officials have declined to name the officer.

Rand demanded “the immediate termination” of the officer. She said it’s “unfathomable” an officer with three deadly pursuits is allowed to remain on the force.

Boynton Beach Mayor Steven B. Grant did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday. A spokesperson for the department said the officer remained on paid administrative leave, and was "not authorized to take any police action."

NBC News has corroborated the officer named by the attorneys was involved in a deadly pursuit in 2016 through a lawsuit filed in 2018 in Palm Beach County's Fifteenth Judicial Circuit.

Allegations of the Boynton's officer's involvement in three deadly vehicle pursuits during his career were also confirmed in an article last week in The Palm Beach Post.

NBC News was unable to reach the officer for comment.

Officers saw the teen “driving recklessly” on Boynton Beach Boulevard, according to a police statement.

The teen crashed the bike in the 800 block of North Federal Highway while officers attempted a traffic stop, police said.

The probe into the attempted traffic stop is being led by the Florida Highway Patrol. A representative of the agency said Tuesday the investigation could take up to four months before it's completed.

The highway patrol has said the teen failed to maintain control of the vehicle and collided with the median curb. After impact with the median curb, he was ejected and collided with a one-way sign in the median.

Boynton Beach police have said they’ve found no evidence the officer’s vehicle came into contact with the dirt bike.

Police have also cited Marsy’s Law, which gives victims of crimes privacy protections, in its decision to shield the officer’s name from the public.

A state appellate court in April ruled unanimously police involved in violent confrontations are entitled to the same privacy protections as crime victims.

A police statement from Dec. 29 called the officer involved a victim.

“The officer invoked his right to Marsy’s Law exemptions as he and his family are victims of ongoing threats to their safety,” the statement read.

“The department has taken the time to consult with the City Attorney’s Office, and based on their advice, Marsy’s Law does apply to this officer in both the threats case and Sunday’s crash. Therefore, in order to comply with the law, the department will not be releasing the name of the officer involved in the crash.”

Davis' mother, Shannon Thompson, said Tuesday during the media briefing that she took exception to how police and the city have declined to name the officer but called them a victim.

“I was very disgusted with that,” Thompson said. “My son was the victim. Our family is the victim."

Thompson described her son as an honor-roll student and her only child. She said she was heartbroken and called on the officer to be fired.

“Had he been terminated with the prior incident, my son would still be with us,” Thompson said. “We’re calling for his termination so that no other family has to endure the pain that I’m suffering from, my family is suffering from.”