LAUDERHILL, Fla. – Tragic and untimely is how Damain Martin’s death has been described by loved ones and now his family wants answers about how the 16-year-old drowned in a lake last year.
“They sat there and watched him drown. We know this for a fact. They watched him drown. And they didn’t do nothing about it -- nothing about it,” the teen’s mother, Tequila Waters, said.
Waters said Martin was her first son and the eldest of six children.
The family’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, said they’re filing a notice of intent to sue with the hopes of getting the truth.
“Why didn’t the police try to save her son? Why did they stand there and watch him go under not once, not twice, but three times?” Crump said.
Cellphone video from March 2019 shows Martin’s body being pulled from a lake near Northwest 57th Terrace and 17th Court in Lauderhill.
Lauderhill police said he drowned after he jumped into the water while trying to escape from officers.
“He went down the first time and he screamed out, ‘Help me, please. Help me.’ He went down the second time. The third time he went down, he didn’t come back up at all,” a witness told Local 10 News last year.
Sunrise police said a foot chase started after officers tried to pull over a suspected stolen car.
Authorities said the chase ended on the edge of the lake, where all four people inside the vehicle bailed on foot.
Police arrested three of the occupants, but witnesses said Martin jumped in the water.
“They saw the police standing over this canal with guns drawn while her son was drowning,” Crump said.
An Internal Affairs investigation cleared Sunrise police officers who were at the scene of wrongdoing.
“If the officers on the scene of the drowning could have safely rescued without putting their lives in grave danger, they would have,” the report stated.
According to the report, officers threw the teen rescue devices in an effort to save him but he was too far out.