Boynton rally for teenager who died in off-road motorcycle traffic stop shuts down USA 1

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BOYNTON BEACH – The roar of engines and a wave of voices filled US 1 at Boynton Beach on Saturday afternoon as more than 1,000 people closed the freeway for about two hours.

They marched together in mourning for a Boynton Beach teenager who was killed on December 26 during a traffic stop on US 1 and Northeast Eighth Avenue.

The engines belonged to off-road motorcycles, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, e-bikes and other vehicles driven by old and young people.

The voices were from family members, friends and strangers to Stanley Davis Jr., who was riding an off-road motorcycle when police said he lost control of it, hit the median and pulled over. crashed into a traffic sign while attempting to stop traffic. Davis, called “SJ” by friends, died at the scene.

Crowds at the rally on Saturday wanted to honor Davis’ life. Sporting T-shirts and hoodies with his photos, signs reading “Justice for SJ” and carrying red balloons, they took US 1 down to the place of his death before turning west and to end at Sarah Sims Park.

Responnse: Boynton Beach mayor suffers backlash after pointing fingers at police over death of teenager on off-road motorcycle

About Davis: “My only child, my everything, all I have”: family mourns 13-year-old killed in off-road motorcycle crash

Previously: FHP to investigate Boynton Beach off-road motorcycle accident that killed a 13-year-old boy; municipal officer on leave

But they also wanted answers about what led to the crash.

The main concern for many walkers was the death of a black teenager during a traffic stop – a familiar scenario that has sparked nationwide racial justice protests since the summer of 2020 and created heightened skepticism of the police.

Surveillance video from a Chevron gas station a quarter of a mile south of the crash site showed a police vehicle with its lights on chasing Davis on his bike. Mountain bikes are not permitted on the streets of Boynton Beach.

“We want to see the body camera images,” Davis’s godmother Mary Barber-Nelson told the Palm Beach Post. “We need justice and a top-to-bottom change in the police department.”

The city said it did not equip the police car involved in the crash with a dash camera. Police did not say whether the officer was carrying a body camera and whether it had been activated.

The Boynton Beach Police Department did not disclose the name of the officer involved in the incident, citing a 2018 amendment to the state constitution modeled on California’s Marsy Act, which allows victims of acts criminals from not disclosing their information to public records.

Department spokeswoman Stephanie Slater said the officer has been under threats since the incident and can therefore invoke Marsy’s Law. The officer is on administrative leave during the Florida Highway Patrol investigation.

While a handful of police vehicles were seen directing traffic around the rally, officers did not appear to be verbalizing those involved.

“It could have been me,” recalls a biker at the crash site

On Saturday, families with young children attended the rally to roam US 1 alongside a strong community of black bikers, all-terrain vehicle drivers and owners of three-wheeled “sling” motorcycles.

Individual drivers cranked up their engines and rigged cars made donuts at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. and Seacrest boulevards – leaving tire tracks as physical symbols of community grief.

Exhaust clouds filled the air as Davis’ mother Shannon Thompson led the crowd in a moment of silence near a makeshift memorial for her only child at the US 1 median.

Nearby, 27-year-old biker Zakee Marrow observed the scene from the seat of his bright red motorbike. His helmet featured a bright red mohawk.

“This whole situation means a lot to me because it could have been me,” said Marrow, adding that he grew up mountain biking around Lake Worth Beach.

Marrow said he wanted to see the city build a place for children to ride bikes and motor vehicles, away from busy roads and police.

“We need a place to go. There is no longer anywhere a child can be a child,” he said. “How can you tell a child that it is wrong to ride a bicycle? “

Others want to see more systemic changes in policing.

“I felt like it could have been my own son,” Boynton Beach’s Alisa Wright told the Palm Beach Post. “We’ve been through this so many times. Here, with Corey Jones in 2015, George Floyd, the names go on and on and on. We’re not being treated fairly here in America.”

Wright, a teacher from West Palm Beach, said she attended Saturday’s rally to show support for Davis’ family and advocate for a fairer world for her students at Roosevelt Middle School.

“We are in 2022. This is not the civil rights movement or the 1960s. We must do better and we demand better. We demand accountability and transparency.”

kkokal@pbpost.com

@katikokal



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