The NAACP and civil rights attorney Ben Crump called on prosecutors on Wednesday to charge Broward County sheriff’s deputies involved in the brutal arrest of teenager that was captured in a cell phone video that went viral.
The video showed 15-year-old Delucca Rolle, who is black, being pepper sprayed and body slammed by white sheriff’s deputies at a strip mall in Tamarac, near Fort Lauderdale, on April 18. The incident sparked outrage on social media, and the State Attorney’s Offfice declined to charge the teen, who was arrested on charges including resisting arrest and trespassing. trespassing.
Two Broward Sheriff Office deputies involved in the incident were later suspended with pay pending an internal investigation, the sheriff’s office said.
“It’s been two months now, over two months, with a video … and the state attorney still says that they don’t have the evidence to charge the police officer for this crime against this child,” Crump said during a press conference, where the teen stood beside him. “Everybody, Stevie Wonder can see that this was aggravated assault and battery.”
Prosecutors: Investigation is almost complete
Delucca’s mother, Clantina Rolle, urged the state attorney to take action.
“It’s has been two months since I haven’t received justice for my son. It feels still fresh to me,” she said.
In a statement released Wednesday, the State Attorney’s Office said its investigation into allegations of criminal misconduct against the deputies is almost completed. Prosecutors will announce their decision soon, the statement said.
“Prosecutors have a legal duty to investigate cases fully before we file criminal charges and our office is complying with that duty,” the statement said. “It is important that these types of investigations are done properly. It is important to get it right. Rushing to file criminal charges without conducting a proper investigation would be counterproductive.”
The sheriff’s office is waiting on prosecutors to complete the criminal investigation before it can finalize the deputies’ administrative proceedings, Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony said.
But the NAACP’s Fort Lauderdale/Broward County branch president, Marsha Ellison, said they are “sick of this waiting. It’s not good enough. Our families are equally as important.”
“We said that if the state attorney’s office did not do the right thing that we would be back. We said that if the sheriff’s office did not do the right thing and hold their people accountable, then we would be back. And so, those things have not happened,” Ellison said.
“We’re asking that (Broward State Attorney Mike Satz) hold these people accountable who have abused their authority, who have abused this young man.”
The two suspended deputies — Sgt. Gregory LaCerra and Deputy Christopher Krickovich — were on patrol at the strip mall because of previous problems with fighting at the plaza, Krickovich said in a police report. They arrived on the scene after one such fight, according to the report, and tried to detain a teen because he was trespassing. As they arrested the teen, according to Krickovich’s account, Delucca tried to pick up a phone belonging to the teen being detained.
When Krickovich told Delucca to stay back, he “bladed his body and began clenching his fist,” so LaCerra pepper sprayed him, the deputy wrote.
Video from the incident shows a deputy using pepper spray on Delucca. As the boy walks away, face in his hands, the deputy body slams him. Another deputy gets on the teen’s back, slams his face into the pavement and punches him in the head, the video shows.
Bystanders can be heard yelling, “What are you doing?”
“He’s bleeding,” one says.
Union: Deputies ‘used proper force’
Sue-Ann Robinson, an attorney who is representing the family, said Delucca is being treated physical and mental injuries.
“We’re all here today because this is really, at the end of the day, about accountability. Accountability for the officers that committed child abuse in broad light, and it was captured on camera,” Robinson said.
In a statement, Jeff Bell, the president of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association, which represents the deputies, said they “used proper force that is well within our use of force policies.”
“We fully expect the criminal complaint to be unfounded at the conclusion of the States review,” the statement said.
In an earlier video statement after the incident, the sheriff pledged a “thorough investigation.”