Boynton Beach officials have been lambasted for responding to the death of a dirt bike rider
BOYNTON BEACH — City officials soaked up three hours of scathing and angry comments during Tuesday night’s Boynton Beach City Commission meeting from supporters of a 13-year-old off-road cyclist killed Dec. 26, who claim that the city does not have a policeman. responsible for his role in the accident.
Locals say the town policeman involved in the teen’s death is also linked to high-speed chases in 2012 and 2016 that left two people, including a 5-year-old boy who died.
Stanley “SJ” Davis III, a seventh-grade student at Congress Middle School, dead the day after christmas when he lost control of his motorcycle and crashed along the N. Federal Highway while being followed by a police vehicle.
Boynton Beach declined to name the officer – placed on paid leave while the matter is investigated by the Florida Highway Patrol – after invoking his right to privacy under the law of the State.
“What will it take to get that police officer out?” a woman, identifying herself as Davis’ aunt, yelled at officials. “He’s an animal. He’s killing our children with his car. What’s it going to take? For him to kill one of your children?”
Much of the invective was directed at City Manager Lori LaVerriere, who has held her position since December 2012 and oversees more than 800 city employees, including police officers.
Pernell Davis, Stanley’s uncle, told LaVerriere she was the ‘single common denominator’ in the three deaths allegedly caused after the officer engaged in high-speed chases not authorized by politics of the department, which prohibits prosecution unless a driver is suspected of having committed a “forced crime” such as murder or sexual assault.
“You haven’t seen a problem yet,” Davis told LaVerriere. “If you haven’t seen a problem then what [should] make us think you’re going to see a problem now?”
Following inquiries from a speaker as to why the officer was not fired, LaVerriere said, “There is nothing I can do until the investigation is complete.”
She made no further comment.
Mayor Steven Grant was also showered with criticism and, in one instance, the target of a vulgar rant. The rest of the commission didn’t fare much better.
“You are all equally guilty,” a woman told the five-person council. “That baby should be here today.”
Family members of two victims killed in police chase speak out
Among the more than 40 speakers on Tuesday were family members of the two victims killed in the lawsuits that allegedly implicated the officer in the Davis case.
The 18-year-old daughter of Cyrus Deal, a 38-year-old man killed after his crash in July 2012 following a police chase, said she still cries herself to sleep at night thinking of her father.
“I think if we get justice for SJ, we’ll get justice for my dad,” she said.
The mother of Jayden Readon, a 5-year-old boy kill in 2016 by a driver on the run while driving to a park with his grandparents, wondering how the officer managed to “get back on the road after killing not once, but twice innocent people”.
“This officer can go home,” she said. “He has a nice paid vacation. He’s back on the road. What did it cost him?”
Stanley Davis Jr., the boy’s father and namesake, said he had lost 30 pounds since his son’s death, couldn’t sleep and had suicidal thoughts.
“I just want you to do what’s right,” he told the commissioners. “Not for me, but for the community.”
There was widespread skepticism among those who spoke about police claims that there was no dash cam installed in the vehicle involved in Davis’ death. In a statement last week, police said that as of 2019, only a handful of department vehicles were equipped with dashcams.
Ben Crump, the famous civil rights lawyer hired by Davis’ family, urged the boy’s supporters last week to let the commissioners know “that they will continue to disturb the peace and they will not let this be swept away under the carpet”.
Commissioners were warned Tuesday that city-sponsored events — like family movies screened outdoors at Centennial Park on Friday nights — will be halted until Davis’ family and allies are given “responsibility for people present in this room”.
“I know you want peace and quiet, but you can’t have both,” Pernell Davis said. “Every event that’s on your calendar is going to be disrupted by us. Every time.
“The rest of your citizens are going to be upset. And we really don’t care… We gave one life. We don’t give anything else.”