By RIEL MAJOR
Tribune Staff Reporter
THREE Florida police officers are facing criminal charges after two of them were caught on video punching and arresting a Bahamian-American teen.
Sergeant Gregory LaCerra, 51, was charged with two counts of battery for spraying the teen, Delucca Rolle, with pepper-spray and throwing him to the pavement.
Deputy Christopher Krickovich, 29, was charged with two counts of battery for slamming the teen’s head into the pavement and punching him in the face.
Deputies Krickovich and Ralph Mackey, 49, also face charges of falsifying records and conspiracy to falsify records for falsifying the description of the circumstances of the juvenile’s arrest.
All three men are expected to appear in court to be arraigned on all of the charges in coming weeks.
“When kids do something, they should be accountable for what they have done. And when adults do something, they should be accountable for what they have done,” Delucca’s mother, Clintina Rolle, told CNN affiliate WSVN.
“I want to tell the state attorney thank you for making the right decision.”
Benjamin Crump, the family’s attorney, said that no one should be above the law.
In April, Sergeant LaCerra and Deputies Krickovich and Mackey responded to a fight outside the McDonald’s in Tamarac, where some 200 students were gathered.
Delucca, 15, is seen on video being pepper-sprayed by Sergeant LaCerra and then thrown to the ground where Deputy Krickovich kneeled on him and is seen slamming the teen’s head into the concrete and punching him on the side of his face.
A bloody-face Delucca is finally seen in videos restrained by the officers.
Onlookers to the ordeal can be heard throughout the video recordings calling on the officers to show a level of restraint, with one bystander asking: “What are you doing? He’s bleeding!”
Another added: “He didn’t do anything.”
At the time, Deputy Krickovich was placed on leave following the incident, and in his report his arrest report claimed Delucca took an aggressive stance toward officers and clenched his fists.
Mr Krickovich further suggested he was forced to push the teen’s head into the ground to free the teen’s right hand from under his body, according to Local10 in Florida.
The incident garnered international attention and a tremendous amount of support from celebrities — all calling for justice in the matter.
Broward County Mayor Mark Bogen in tweet called for Mr Krickovich to be fired outright.
NBA star LeBron James said the incident has made him concerned about the safety of his own kids.
Delucca’s mother has said he has Bahamian citizenship and is a naturalised American, according to earlier reports
Just two weeks ago Rolle was involved with police again when he was arrested after Lauderhill police discovered a stolen car and followed it into North Lauderdale. Rolle was a passenger in the car, authorities said.
Rolle’s mom, Clintina Rolle, posted on Facebook that a friend had picked up her son.
“He did not know the car his friend was driving wasn’t the friend car,” she wrote. “The friend told the police my son wasn’t aware of what’s going on. My son was afraid and he ran. Due to the fact that, he is still in fear of the police. He didn’t know what to expect.”
She added, “I can’t change the fact that he didn’t know what was going on.”
After Rolle fled the scene, a helicopter was used to find him. He was subsequently charged with being in a stolen car and resisting an officer without violence, local press reported.
Officials said the car was stolen out of Margate driveway on June 24. The owner told police he had left the keys in his unlocked Mercedes, which had been broken into.
Broward Sheriff’s Office, would not release reports last week citing juvenile privacy laws.