Fort Lauderdale, FL – A Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) deputy was acquitted by a Florida jury on Monday for using excessive force during the rough arrest a 15-year-old Delucca Rolle in 2019.
The incident happened in front of the McDonald’s restaurant in the Tamarac Town Square Plaza on Pine Island Road after school hours on April 18, WPLG reported.
That location has been a popular spot for high school students to meet up and fight after classes let out, and so Broward sheriff’s deputies had been assigned to patrol the area.
In the arrest report, then-Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Krickovich wrote that a fight in the same spot the prior day had resulted in damage to an innocent bystander’s vehicle, according to WPLG.
Deputy Krickovich wrote that he recognized one of the teens as a boy who had been trespassed from the shopping center property the day before, so he and a sergeant on the scene told the boy to sit down on the curb.
The boy refused to comply with officers’ commands and so Deputy Krickovich took him to the ground and officers handcuffed him face down on the pavement, the video showed.
While they were doing that, a female student tried to grab the cell phone dropped by the boy who was being arrested, but the sergeant kicked it out of her reach.
The video showed the crowd of more than 50 teenagers was encroaching on the deputies as they tried to gain control of the situation.
“Again, the three of us were outnumbered by the large group of students who were yelling, threatening us, and surrounding us. I had to act quickly, fearing I would get struck or having a student potentially grab weapons off my belt or vest,” Deputy Krickovich wrote in the arrest report, according to WPLG.
In the video, another boy in a red tank top, later identified as Rolle, bent over and made a grab for the phone and BSO Sergeant Gregory LaCerra pepper sprayed him.
Rolle backed away but Sgt. LaCerra followed and took him to the ground to arrest him, the video showed.
At that point, Deputy Krickovich and another deputy jumped on top of the struggling boy to try and gain control of him and apply handcuffs.
The deputy could be seen trying to push Rolle’s head to the ground as the teen tried to hold himself up.
During the struggle, the teen’s head hit the ground. It’s not clear if the deputy intended to slam is head down, or if it was the result of the deputy trying to hold him down as the teen resisted.
Deputy Krickovich wrote in his report that, during the struggle, he had to punch Rolle in the head as a “distractionary technique” to free the boy’s hand, which he was holding under his head.
Eventually, deputies were able to handcuff Rolle, and when they sat him up, his face looked to be bleeding from its contact with the pavement but he was otherwise uninjured.
Sgt. LaCerra was initially charged with misdemeanor battery for his actions at the scene but those charges were dismissed in June, WPLG reported.
Broward County Mayor Mark Bogen immediately called for Deputy Krickovich’s termination and the deputy, who was originally placed on paid administrative leave, was ultimately terminated, WPLG reported.
He was charged with using excessive force in Rolle’s arrest, WSVN reported.
At trial, BSO Sergeant Mel Murphy, a 32-year veteran of the sheriff’s department who trained Deputy Krickovich, testified that Rolle was actively resisting and Deputy Krickovich had followed protocol in subduing him, WPGL reported.
Sgt. Murphy called Deputy Krickovich’s actions during Rolle’s arrest “a beautiful display” of technique and “lawful use of force.”
A Broward County jury found former Deputy Krickovich not guilty on July 25, WPLG reported.
The former deputy’s attorney said his client planned to try to get his job back and wanted back-pay, too.