The parents of Stanley "SJ" Davis III, a 13-year-old boy who died after his dirt bike crashed during an attempted traffic stop, are urging city officials to hold police accountable for his death.
“We are here for justice for all,” his mother, Shannon Thompson, said during an emotional city commission meeting in Boynton Beach, Florida, on Tuesday. “We would like some accountability.”
SJ, who turned 13 on Dec. 5, died on Dec. 26 after his dirt bike crashed while he was being pursued by a Boynton Beach police officer.
Davis’ father, Stanley Davis Jr., pleaded with city council members to put themselves in his shoes, saying, “I don’t want you guys to do more than what you feel is right. That’s all I ask.”
“[It’s] tearing me apart to know that in his final moments [SJ] was alone, he was afraid,” he added.
The Boynton Beach Police Department said the "preliminary investigation indicates that the dirt bike operator was observed driving recklessly on Boynton Beach Boulevard. Officers attempted a traffic stop, and the dirt bike went down in the 800 block of North Federal Highway."
Attorney Ben Crump, who represents the family, told ABC News in a statement on Wednesday that Davis got the dirt bike as a Christmas gift and his death has been “an absolute nightmare” for the family and the community.
Under Florida law, a dirt bike is considered an "off-highway vehicle" and the operator of such a vehicle must be at least 16 years old.
According to BBPD policy, "Vehicular pursuits will be initiated only if the officer reasonably believes that the person(s) fleeing has committed a forcible felony."
“There never should have been a high-speed pursuit and it never should have resulted in the death of a child,” Crump said. “The Boynton Beach Police Department’s own policy is that pursuits should only be initiated if the officer reasonably believes the person fleeing has committed a felony. We’re talking about a child.”
This issue was also brought up during the meeting by Rickey Bethel, a community member who said that he is a sergeant in the police department but is speaking for himself. Bethel did not specify which police department he is with and a spokesperson for BBPD told ABC News that there is no one with that name employed at BBPD.
"Professionally, you're not supposed to chase anybody if it's not a forcible felony," Bethel said. "That's the disturbing part for me."
ABC News has reached out to Bethel for clarification.
Asked if the officer violated the law regarding vehicular pursuits, a BBPD spokesperson told ABC News, "The investigation into this crash is ongoing."
Amid pressure from the public to release the officer’s name, the department said it cannot because the officer invoked his right to Marsy’s Law.
“According to Marsy’s Law, every victim is entitled to the right to be free from intimidation, harassment and abuse,” a BBPD spokesperson told ABC News. “In addition, the law gives every victim the right to prevent the disclosure of information or records that could be used to locate or harass the victim or the victim’s family, or which could disclose confidential or privileged information of the victim.”
Police said the officer involved in the incident was placed on administrative leave as the Florida Highway Patrol leads an investigation into the fatal crash. The department "provided all video evidence" to FHP but the police vehicle involved in the incident was "not equipped with a dash cam," officials said.
The teenager’s death has left the community grappling with anger and grief.
Shamarie Davis, Davis’ cousin, directly addressed Boynton Beach Mayor Steven GrantGrant during Tuesday's meeting in an emotional moment, recalling the time he promised her to do his “best” for the community when she met him as a mayoral candidate.
“I need you to look me in my eye one more time and I need you to tell me you’re going to do the best that you can do,” she said.
“As long as I'm the mayor, I will do the best that I can to make sure there's justice for SJ,” Grant said.
The mayor came under fire last week after saying the police and the city were “responsible” for Davis’ death. Grant responded to the backlash during the meeting and said his comments were taken out of context and the investigation is ongoing.
Community members came together on Saturday to participate in "Bikes Up for SJ," an event to honor Davis' memory, that took place in Boynton Beach.
Editor's note: This story was updated to clarify that Rickey Bethel is not employed by BBPD, according to police.