A Florida deputy has been fired for slamming a black teenager’s head into the pavement during a violent April arrest at a McDonald’s parking lot—despite an oversight board’s recommendation that he remain on the job, authorities said.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office fired Deputy Christopher Krickovich, 29, on Tuesday after an internal review and disciplinary hearing regarding the arrest of 15-year-old Delucca Rolle, Sheriff Gregory Tony said Wednesday. The sheriff said he “disagreed” with the Professional Standards Committee, which recommended that “there should be no disciplinary action taken against” the deputy.
“He was terminated yesterday,” Tony said. “He was terminated because we don’t have a policy in place that provides deputies the opportunity to slam people’s face, head into the ground.”
On April 18, deputies arrived at the McDonald’s parking lot in Tamarac, Florida, after receiving reports of a fight. Rolle was among 200 students who had gathered at the strip mall after school anticipating a fight.
Video of the incident shows that Rolle tried to pick up a cellphone belonging to another teen who was being detained when Sgt. Gregory LaCerra pepper-sprayed him. LaCerra then threw Rolle on the ground, at which point Krickovich jumped on him, slammed his head twice into the pavement, and punched him several times.
Rolles was initially charged with assaulting and resisting an officer, but the charges were later dropped after celebrities like Lebron James and Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg publicly condemned the incident.
“So wrong!! Hurts me to my soul!!” James wrote on Twitter. “To think that could be my sons. Scary times man.”
“It’s interesting how everyone in Parkland and Broward was calling out local law enforcement a couple of months ago,” David Hogg said. “But now the black and brown youth are being brutally assaulted in school by the same police 15 min away. COMPLETE silence…”
Tony on Wednesday refused to discuss the details surrounding LaCerra’s investigation because it is not yet complete, but noted that Deputy Ralph Mackey, who was also present for the arrest, will receive a written reprimand for not turning on his body camera.
Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association President Jeffrey Bell said Wednesday he believes Tony’s decision to fire Krickovich is “nothing more than political.”
“What you’re doing here is nothing more than political,” Bell said. “This is not due process, this is not following your policy and procedures, and we’ve even filed an unfair labor practice complaint against the sheriff’s office because at the PSC board, only sustained cases can move forward for a higher recommended discipline. They were exonerated 11 to nothing. That is absolutely unheard of to hear an 11 to nothing exoneration at a PSC board.”
The Broward State Attorney’s Office slapped all three officers with misdemeanor charges related to the encounter in July. LaCerra, 51, and Krickovich were both charged with two counts of battery and falsifying records. Mackey was also charged with falsifying records and conspiracy to falsify records, but was acquitted of the charges in September.