A Florida teenager, 15, was pepper sprayed, slammed to the ground, and punched in an “outrageous” arrest video involving a now-suspended police officer.
“The behavior of these Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies was outrageous and unacceptable,” Broward County Mayor Mark Bogen said Friday, according to the Miami Herald. “The officer who jumped on the student, punched the student and banged his head to the ground should be fired immediately.”
Smartphone video taken Thursday at Tamarac Town Square Plaza showed two teens from J.P. Taravella High School in the custody of police officers who had broken up a fist fight — a boy wearing a blue shirt is handcuffed on the ground and one wearing a red tank top is pepper-sprayed by a deputy.
When that teen turns away, the cop throws him down and steps away. Two other deputies slam the boy’s face on the ground, punching him on the side of the head.
“What are you doing! He’s bleeding!” screams a student in the crowd.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office in Florida announced an internal investigation into the officers’ conduct and the suspension of Deputy Christopher Krickovich, who punched the teen.
Sheriff Gregory Tony said in a video statement sent to Yahoo Lifestyle, “I want to assure you that this incident is being conducted under a thorough investigation. We will look at this as a fact-finding measure to ensure we hold folks accountable…”
Richard Della Fera, a Fort Lauderdale attorney for the boy wearing the red shirt, says his client, who did not have a weapon, was hospitalized.
“The police threw him like a sack of potatoes, then walked away so his two henchmen could do his dirty work,” Della Ferra tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “It looked like a gang beatdown.”
The boy’s mother took her son to the hospital to check for a head injury. “She’s despondent at the video,” says Della Ferra.
Broward County Public Schools board member Dr. Rosalind Osgood tweeted, “This is unacceptable. The young man clearly had his hand by his side when he was attacked by these officers. Please contact @browardsheriff to demand removal of these officers.”
According to the Sun Sentinel, school board member Lori Alhadeff said, “I’m disappointed, saddened and shocked by the most recent actions taken by BSO. The aggressive and excessive force shown was unnecessary and excessive. Sensitivity training and culture awareness for police is key.”
A representative of Broward County Public Schools tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “It’s our understanding an incident occurred off campus after school yesterday. We respectfully defer to BSO.”
Deputy Krickovich wrote in a report sent to Yahoo Lifestyle by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, that the detained boy wearing the blue shirt was involved in a physical fight on Wednesday and had been warned against trespassing in the area.
The report said force was applied when the boy in the red tank top tried to grab the cell phone of the detained student and took an “aggressive stance” toward another officer, Sgt. Greg LaCerra.
That student was pepper-sprayed, said the report, and due to the 200-person crowd “closing in and the loud yelling and threats” Krickovich threw his weight on top of the teen. “…I had to act quickly, fearing I would get struck or having a student potentially grab weapons off of my belt or vest,” he wrote.
The teenager was charged with assault on a police officer, resisting a police officer without violence, and trespassing, but Della Ferra says a judge did not uphold the aggravated assault charge.
“The hard questions need to be asked during the investigation,” Della Ferra tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Let’s hope this isn’t lip service.”