Two Florida deputies who violently arrested a Black teenager are now attempting to have their misdemeanor charges dismissed. On Friday’s hearing (Sept. 25), Sgt. Gregory LaCerra and deputy Christopher Krickovich, formerly of the Broward Sheriff’s Office, claimed they acted in self-defense during the 2019 incident and cited Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law.
“This was an assault,” LaCerra claimed, painting 15-year-old Delucca Rolle as the aggressor. According to the Atlanta Black Star, the arrest occurred in a McDonald’s parking lot in Tamarac, Florida, when the cops were responding to a call about a fight.
“He has a right to defend property, he has a right to defend himself, he has a right to defend other deputies and he has a right to defend the members of this community,” his attorney said. The judge is expected to issue her ruling in the coming days.
Both LaCerra and Krickovich were charged with battery and conspiracy to falsify records after a cellphone video showed the officers pepper-spraying, tackling and slamming Rolle’s head into the ground until he was bleeding.
“He pepper-sprayed me. I walked away. He slammed me to the floor and arrested me,” the teenager testified. Video showed the cops push the teenager to the ground after he went to pick up his friend’s cellphone.
After the encounter, Rolle was charged with trespassing, resisting arrest without violence and assault on an officer. However, the charges were later dropped. He suffered a fractured nose and head injuries from the violent arrest.
“They’re admitting to battering Delucca Rolle, but claim that they’re immune from prosecution because they believe battering Delucca Rolle was necessary to defend themselves,” prosecutor Justin McCormack said, arguing that Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law is an invalid defense for the officers’ actions.
During the week-long pre-trial hearing, LaCerra, who has remained employed by the sheriff’s department on “restricted duty,” called the incident a “scary moment.”
“We were being surrounded,” he said. “The environment was hostile toward law enforcement officers. This was a scary moment in my career.”
The officers claim that after they pushed him to the ground, Rolle assumed a “pre-attack posture,” which is why they pepper-sprayed him.
Krickovich, who was fired from the department, said he did not intend to slam the teen’s head repeatedly into the pavement.
“My intent was to pin him to the floor,” he said. “I wasn’t picking it up. He was doing all that pushing up and I’m trying to keep him down.”
See graphic video from the arrest here.