Christopher Krickovich, a Florida deputy, was placed on leave after a video of him and fellow deputies slamming a 15-year-old boy’s head into the pavement during a trespassing arrest went viral this weekend. The video has sparked outrage from celebrities like LeBron James and Steve Kerr. One officer involved claims the teen was being “aggressive” and that punching him in the head was nothing more than a “distractionary technique.”
15 yr old Black boy, Lucca picked up a cell phone that fell out of the pocket of a Black boy who was being arrested. In response @browardsheriff officers Christopher Krickovich & Greg LaCerra pepper sprayed, brutally beat, and arrested him.
— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) April 20, 2019
Footage of the assault was shared on social media with the hashtag #JusticeForLucca. The teen, who has been referred to both as “Lucca” and “Delucca” online didn’t appear to be breaking any laws outside of a McDonald’s in Tamarac, Fla., while Broward County Sheriff’s deputies handcuffed another teen on the ground.
The deputy turned around and confronted Lucca, then pepper sprayed him in the face after he picked up a cell phone. As Lucca turned and tried to walk away, Krickovich grabbed the child by the shoulders and threw him to the ground.
Here’s another angle that shows @browardsheriff’s deputy pepper spraying unarmed Black boy, Lucca, who posed no threat. He then slammed his head into the concrete, arrested him & charged him with ASSAULTING the cops.
— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) April 20, 2019
More than one angle of the assault was captured on video. Another perspective showed another officer jumping on Lucca after he’d been pushed to the ground. The deputy repeatedly slammed the boy’s head into the concrete, before punching him in the head. The teen did not resist in either video, but at one point he did place his arm beneath his face to prevent further injury to his head.
Broward County Mayor Mark Bogan reacted to the violent video by saying that Christopher Krickovich’s behavior was “outrageous & unacceptable,” adding: “The officer who jumped the student, punched & banged his head should be fired.” Although the mayor said he had a problem with the assault, there was no reason to pepper spray the young man either.
The behavior of these BSO deputies is outrageous & unacceptable The officer who jumped the student, punched & banged his head should be fired. I have a problem with the deputy who threw him to the ground after he pepper sprayed him He could’ve easily arrested him after the spray. https://t.co/NaZKeDaymi
— Mayor Mark Bogen (@mark_bogen) April 19, 2019
“So wrong!! Hurts me to my soul!!” James wrote on Twitter. “To think that could be my sons. Scary times man.”
So wrong!! Hurts me to my soul!! To think that could be my sons. 🤦🏾♂️😢. Scary times man https://t.co/tRxk6sV7sb
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 20, 2019
“What the hell is wrong with our country?” Kerr wrote. “This is insane yet routine. So demoralizing.”
“It’s interesting how everyone in Parkland and Broward was calling out local law enforcement a couple of months ago,” wrote David Hogg, a survivor of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in nearby Parkland. “But now the black and brown youth are being brutally assaulted in school by the same police 15 min away. COMPLETE silence…”
It’s interesting how everyone in Parkland and Broward was calling out local law enforcement a couple of months ago.
But now the black and brown youth are being brutally assaulted in school by the same police 15 min away.
COMPLETE silence… #justiceForLucca
— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) April 20, 2019
Sheriff Gregory Tony promised a “thorough investigation” of the matter in a video press release. He also announced that one of the officers involved, Christopher Krickovich, would be placed on administrative leave for use of force.
Krickovich, in the arrest warrant, wrote about how students fight in the plaza on a normal basis. He even referenced a fight that had taken place a day prior, which resulted in property damage, but was unrelated to this incident. He claimed he and other officers saw a teen trespassing who had been involved in the previous day’s activity. The student was placed in custody “without incident”— but when that teen’s cell phone fell during the arrest, Lucca allegedly bent down to pick it up.
Krickovich claimed Sgt. Greg LaCerra told Lucca to stay back. He then said the teen “took an aggressive stance” towards the officer, and “bladed his body and began clenching his fists.” After an officer pepper sprayed the teen and forced him to the ground, Krickovich said he jumped on the boy and “pushed down […] to ensure my full weight was on his person so he could not attempt to take flight or fight us.”
“Again, the three of us were outnumbered by the large group of students who were yelling, threatening us, and surrounding us,” Krickovich wrote. “I had to act quickly, fearing I would get struck or having a student potentially grab weapons off my belt or vest.”
During a meeting with the Broward County Black Elected Officials group on Saturday, Sheriff Tony attempted to calm the outrage.
“That’s the most electrifying and dangerous situation for a law enforcement administrator to handle,” Tony said. “Any time a white deputy is involved in contact with using force on a Black youth, this thing blows up.”
He concluded that he can’t just “fire the officers involved.”
“There’s been a large cry of just go out and fire them. Just get rid of them,” he said. “You all know it doesn’t work like that. It’s going to be done the right way.”
Training officers to not attack children, who aren’t being aggressive, should also be done the right way. Broward County Sheriff’s Department does not have a good reputation when it comes to police brutality cases. Maybe it’s time to hold this agency accountable instead of making excuses.