A Florida sheriff’s deputy has been placed on “restricted administrative assignment” after a video of him punching a black teenager in the head during an arrest prompted outrage over the weekend in Tamarac, just west of Fort Lauderdale.
The video shows one Broward County sheriff’s deputy push the teen, who has not been identified, to the ground before another deputy pins him down, slams his head into the ground repeatedly, and then punches him in the head.
Deputy Christopher Krickovich was ordered to surrender his gun and badge while the Division of Internal Affairs investigates the incident.
“I wanted to assure you that this incident is being conducted under a thorough investigation,” Sheriff Gregory Tony said in a video statement Friday. “We will look at this as a fact finding measure to ensure that we hold folks accountable.”
The deputies were on “proactive patrol” at the Tamarac Town Square Plaza due to reports of students fighting, according to Krickovich’s arrest report from the Thursday incident. Sgt. Gregory LaCerra spotted a teen trespassing who had been involved in a large fight the day before that resulted in property damage.
While he was detaining the teen, Krickovich said he saw a “male wearing a red tank top” try to pick up the student’s phone. LaCerra ordered the student in the red tank top to stay back while Krickovich had his back turned. The student then “took an aggressive stance towards Sgt. LaCerra” and “bladed his body and began clenching his fists,” according to Krickovich.
The student was then pepper-sprayed and forced to the ground, before Krickovich jumped on him and pushed down with his full weight “so he could not attempt to take flight or fight us.”
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“Again, the three of us were outnumbered by a large group of students who were yelling threats and surrounding us,” Krickovich wrote. “I had to act quickly fearing I would get struck or have a student potentially grab weapons off of my belt or vest.”
At one point in the struggle, the student put his right arm under his face, so Krickovich wrote he punched him in the head “as a distractionary technique” to free his right hand. “The technique was successful and I was able to place him into handcuffs without further incident,” he wrote.
The teen, who has been charged with assault, resisting arrest and trespassing, was then taken to Coral Springs Medical Center for treatment.
Video of the arrest has been watched more than 5 million times on Twitter, and more than 20,000 people have signed a petition calling for the deputies involved to be fired.
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Broward County Mayor Mark Bogen issued a statement calling the deputies behavior “outrageous and 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.” Bogen said. “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.”
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Follow N’dea Yancey-Bragg on Twitter: @NdeaYanceyBragg
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