Police Facing Backlash For Abusive Treatment Of 15-Year-Old Teenager

After attempting to rescue the cell phone of a peer getting arrested, a black 15-year-old was slammed to the ground by police officers for embodying what one of the officers deemed, “an aggressive stance”. Gathered outside of a McDonald’s on April 18, 2019, at 3 P.M. Florida police officers of Broward County were called to break up what appeared to be a brewing brawl among a group of teenagers. A popular location for afterschool fights, April 17th had seen a fight that ended in the damage of a bystander’s car.


Officers Krickovich and LaCerra Arrive

https://twitter.com/ansonmount/status/1119801195902664704

Arriving on April 18th after the fight had ended, partners Deputy Christopher Krickovich and Sargeant Greg LaCerra record in the affidavit that they told the gathered teenagers to disperse. However, the officers soon spotted the presence of a black teen who was reprimanded for his involvement in the previous day’s fight and given a verbal warning not to hang out in the area again. Upon noting the breach of their verbal warning Krickovich and LaCerra put the offending teen onto the ground intending to take him into custody, causing his phone to fall out of his pocket and slide across the ground.


An Act of Kindness Leads to Violence

https://twitter.com/SLIMPHATTY/status/1119612848848670720

A black 15-year-old standing among the larger group of teenagers saw his peer’s phone fall out of his pocket and bent down to pick it up in an act of kindness. It was in response to this action that the 15-year-old, now identified as Lucca, was unnecessarily pepper-sprayed and forced to join his peer on the ground by Sgt. LaCerra. Lucca was then mercilessly beaten on the right side of his skull by a close-fisted Deputy Kirckovich when he moved his right arm underneath his head in an attempt to protect his face from further brutalization. This attempt to protect himself is what led the officers to charge Lucca with resisting arrest by a police officer in addition to the bogus charges of assault and trespassing for which Lucca appeared in court on the morning of April 18th, 2019, although no official sentencing has of yet taken place. Both officers claim that they felt they were at risk and that the actions taken were necessary in order to de-escalate a dangerous situation.


#JusticeForLucca

https://twitter.com/TalbertSwan/status/1119612441049075713

Videos of the violent arrests were taken by the more than 200 teenagers who were gathered and went viral after black rights activist Bishop Talbert Swan of the Church of God in Christ shared a video on his Twitter account. The incident quickly gained notoriety as the video shared by Bishop Swan was disseminated on Facebook and Twitter under the hashtag “JusticeForLucca” with celebrities like Lebron James weighing in on the horror that occurred.


The Police Department Responds

In response to the resulting public demand that the arresting officers be fired or prosecuted for police brutality, Broward County Sherrif Gregory Tony issued a statement on April 19, 2019, that the Broward County Police Department will be conducting a “thorough investigation” into the events of April 18th and that Deputy officer Krickovich has been placed on restricted duty. On April 20, 2019, Sherrif Tony met with black leaders of the Broward County community and underlined his understanding of the importance of situations in which white officers of the law use force against black youth: “That’s the most electrifying and dangerous situation for a law enforcement administrator to handle. Any time a white deputy is involved in contact with using force on a black youth, this thing blows up,” he said. “How we handle that from an administrative standpoint has to be very tactful.” While Tony’s concerns seem to lie with the public perception of the Broward Police Department with an emphasis on tact, he attests that he will not “sit and try to brush anything under the table” in regards to the incident that occurred on April 18th, 2019.

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