Several black organizations are calling for an independent probe into the deaths of three St. Petersburg teenagers who drowned when the car they stole went into a pond.
The International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement, Black Lives Matter, Bay Area Dream Defenders, Nation of Islam, and the NAACP say the girls are dead because Pinellas Sheriff’s deputies chased them at high speed and then did nothing to save their lives as their stolen car sank in a pond at Royal Palm North Cemetery off Gandy Boulevard.
Representatives of the black groups say damage to the rear bumper of the stolen car proves that deputies did more than follow the car as they say.
They say deputies used a PIT maneuver where the following officer bumps the suspect car, causing it to go out of control.
Deputies say the stolen car went out of control and into the pond when the girls took a corner in the cemetery too fast.
Dashcam video shows that deputies did wade into the water but could not do anything to help the girls because the mud was too thick and the car was sinking too fast.
The bodies of 16 year old Dominique Battle and 15 year olds Laniya Miller and Ashaunti Butler were later pulled from the car after the car was pulled from the water.
All three had criminal records.