Officer Placed on Leave After Slamming, Punching Black Teen’s Head in Violent Video
|thenorthstar||Apr 24, 2019|
A Florida sheriff’s deputy has been placed on “restricted administrative assignment” following a viral video depicting two police officers violently taking down a Black teenager during an arrest, authorities said. The video showed Broward County Sheriff Deputy Christopher Krickovich and Sergeant Greg LaCerra pepper spray a Black teen, push him to the ground, and punch his head on Thursday. The video was posted by Bishop Talbert Swan and has garnered over 8.6 million views on Twitter.
Krickovich was told to surrender his gun on Friday, and the Broward County Sheriff’s Division of Internal Affairs is investigating the incident, authorities said. It is unclear if LaCerra has received any disciplinary action. “I wanted to assure you that this incident is being conducted under a thorough investigation,” Sheriff Gregory Tony said in a statement on Friday. “We will look at this as a fact finding measure to ensure that we hold folks accountable.”
In the arrest report reviewed by The North Star, the deputies were on “proactive patrol” at the Tamarac Town Square in Tamarac, Florida on April 18 due to a report of students fighting. Krickovich said Sergeant Greg LaCerra saw one teenager trespassing in the parking lot who had been involved in a large fight the day prior, which resulted in property damage. While he was detaining the teen, Krickovich wrote that he saw a “male wearing a red tank top” attempting to pick up the teen’s cell phone after it had slid away from him.
LaCerra ordered the student in red, who social media has identified as “Lucca” or “DeLucca,” to stay back while Krickovich had his back turned arresting the other student. Krickovich wrote that the teen “took an aggressive stance towards Sergeant LaCerra” and allegedly “bladed his body and began clenching his fists.” The teen was pepper sprayed and forced to the ground and Krickovich wrote that he “quickly jumped on the male with the red tank top.”
“With the crowd closing in and the loud yelling and the threats toward us, I pushed down on the male to ensure my weight was full on his person so he could not attempt to take flight or fight us,” Krickovich wrote in the arrest report. Krickovich wrote that he punched the teen “as a distractionary technique” because the student had his right arm under his face and needed to free his right hand. The 15-year-old was arrested and charged with assault, resisting arrest, and trespassing and was taken to Coral Springs Medical Center for treatment. On Tuesday, the charges were dropped against the 15-year-old, who has been identified by authorities as Delucca “Lucca” Rolle, the Sun Sentinel reported. Sue-Ann Robinson, one of the teen's attorneys, met with prosecutors said the charges against Lucca made "no sense," according to the publication.
Broward County Mayor Mark D. Bogen released a statement on Friday and called the deputy’s behavior “unacceptable.” "The officer who jumped on the student, punched the student and banged his head to the ground should be fired immediately. There is no excuse for a law enforcement officer to harm a teenager who was on the ground and who gave no resistance. I also have a problem with the deputy who threw the student to the ground after he pepper sprayed him,” Bogen wrote. “After being sprayed, the teen held his face and walked away. If the deputy wanted to arrest the student, he could have easily done so without throwing him to the ground. I hope the appropriate authorities investigate this conduct and take the appropriate action."
An online petition has been launched to fire the two officers that forcibly took down the teen. The petition has over 48,500 signatures as of Tuesday. A peaceful protest has also been organized for Saturday by Sonya Parker, who told The North Star that the video "broke her heart."
“Both officers need to be fired then arrested and charged with battery,” Parker said. “This incident could have killed Lucca and Krickovich was only reassigned to administrative duty. Furthermore, LaCerra got off scot-free, even though he’s the one that initiated the whole thing.”
About the Author
Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.