DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. - A Douglasville family is planning a funeral for a 12-year-old because he died in a crash after troopers performed a PIT maneuver that they said was necessary to stop the car he was riding in from speeding.
The Boykins said they’re frustrated by the events that led up to and caused the death of their son, Leden, just as much as they are distraught by what they said did not happen in the days immediately after.
"He was athletic, energetic, outspoken, articulate," Anthony Boykins said of his son.
But of all the ways the family describes Leden they said they’ll remember how much and how hard he loved the most.
"He’d say ‘I love you more, and more,’ until I couldn't go up no more," his grandmother, Patricia Williams said. "He would call me every day."
That’s what the family said he did from the back seat of his friend’s parent’s car Friday.
"He said, ‘Grandma, we're on our way home.’ He never made it home," family attorney Zenobia Waters said.
The Georgia State Patrol said they pulled that car over for speeding on Bethel Church Road in Paulding County around 1 a.m. Friday. Charles Moore was behind the wheel. They said he didn’t lower his window, troopers tried to burst it open, and Moore drove off.
A more than eight-minute-long recording of the 911 calls documents the moments before the tragedy.
"The officers are telling me to tell you to pull over, they're going to hit you if you don't," an operator told Moore during the pursuit.
"I wish he would have just pulled over, but that doesn't give them the right to flip that car over knowing there were kids in it," Leden’s father said.
"He's on a dark road, two small children, trying to get home and the police are aggressive, a Black man with two little Black boys," Waters said.
"I've got my kids with me man," Moore could be heard saying in the recording.
"I’ve already let them know there are kids in the car…They're trying to flip me, man," he continues.
Leden died in the crash after troopers used a tactic commonly called a pit maneuver to stop the pursuit.
Leden’s parents, who were out of town at the time, said they weren’t allowed to see his body until several days after the crash.
GSP policy requires troopers to consider several factors including whether children are in a car before performing such a move.
The Boykins said it was clear children were in the car and believe Leden would be alive today had troopers not performed a PIT maneuver.
Authorities said the troopers are being investigated, which is protocol.
The family said they’re also concerned about who identified Leden’s body. They said they didn’t and an autopsy had already been performed by the time they viewed him. Charles Moore faces a long list of charges including DUI, open container in a motor vehicle, and driving with a suspended license.
Officials also note that he’s wanted out of the Henry County Sheriff’s Office and Covington Police Department for various charges.
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