Does Speeding Justify the Death Of A 12-Year-Old?

Chibuzo Nwachuku

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Le'Den Boykins who was killed by the PIT maneuver which the troopers used to stop the car he was in.Photo byPhoto Provided by Boykins Family

A 12-year-old boy lost his life due to the actions of cops during a high-speed chase. 12-year-old Le'Den Boykins lost his life when troopers of Georgia State Patrol used a PIT maneuver to stop the car in which he was a passenger, driven by his neighbor. This happened early in the early hours of September 10 2022.

Le'Den's parents Anthony and Toni Boykins have sought answers from Georgia State Patrols to the question of why the troopers would use a maneuver. They believed the life of their son could have been saved.

Le'Dens parents were in Michigan for a funeral when this deadly incident happened. His grandmother who was staying with Le'Den at their residence in Paulding County, permitted Le'Den to make money by following his neighbor Charles Moore and the 14-year-old son to his job, cleaning parking lots.

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Dashcam video screenshot of Charles Moore's car stopped by the patrol officers.Photo byGeorgia State Patrol

According to Georgia State Patrol, Moore was stopped after 1 a.m. by a trooper for speeding. Patrol officer David Petersen who approached the driver's side of the vehicle claimed that Moore tried to evade him. He asked Moore to show his driver's license but Moore refused to do so which prompted Petersen to ask him to come out of the vehicle

Minutes later, two Paulding County Sheriff's deputies showed up. Moore asked to talk to a supervisor and asked what he did wrong. A deputy then smashed the driver's window. Moore responded by speeding away.

After about eight minutes of the high-speed chase, Petersen executed the PIT maneuver by hitting the back left bumper of Moore's Kia Sorento. The car with its occupants flipped over into a roadside ditch. As on the dashcam video, Petersen said "PIT successful, PIT successful" while the car went into the embankment. That claimed the life of Boykins. Moore was arrested.

The Paulding County Sheriff's Office told WANF, a local TV station that it was 1 a.m. and dark that the troopers found it difficult to see who was in the car.

Le'Den Boykins' father Anthony Boykins said he asked the officers if they knew there were children in the car and that they answered that they did not know there were children there.

Boykins' attorney, Lee Merritt shared radio traffic that proves that the officers at the scene were aware that children were in the vehicle. A dispatcher is heard on it acknowledging the presence of the children with an unidentified officer responding by acknowledging the same thing and also asked for the troopers to stop to avoid making the car get into the ditch.

Anthony who insisted that the officers could have used a roadblock up to protect the kids has been seeking justice for his son. Atlanta NAACP President Gerald Griggs in a news conference asked for Georgia's attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor again. He also requested for an investigation by the Department of Justice.

Moore faces charges including first-degree vehicular homicide, murder during the commission of a felony, reckless driving, endangering a child, fleeing to elude, and driving under the influence of alcohol. Peterson was placed on leave pending an investigation by the GBI. He returned to work. Source: https://atlantablackstar.com/2023/01/16/there-are-kids-in-the-car-family-of-12-year-old-killed-during-high-speed-chase-wants-officers-held-accountable-for-violating-pit-maneuver-policy/

The officers knew there were children in the car. Even though Georgia's Department of Public Safety policy does not explicitly prohibit the PIT maneuver on the presence of children, it requires officers to consider the safety of children. The troopers acted against their own policy. The police lied about the death of the boy. I admit that Moore who drove the car should have charges pressed against him for those other offenses but was he responsible for the death of Le'Den? No. The officers at the scene despite their knowledge of kids in the car did not use a safer maneuver. They should have been charged but instead, Petersen who executed the PIT maneuver was put on paid leave at the expense of the taxpayers including the parents of his victim, how crazy it is. What are your thoughts of the incident and the police?

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