By: Sharon Aron Baron
Sheriff Gregory Tony met with command staff and received a preliminary account of what happened Thursday at the McDonald’s in Tamarac when juveniles were taken down by officers in a video which has since gone viral.
Due to on-going issues regarding students who fight after school, and just a day prior a large fight which resulted in property damage to an innocent bystander’s vehicle, the Tamarac Crime Suppression Team Detectives responded to the Tamarac Town Square Plaza at 8301 N. Pine Island Road.
According to the report, a large crowd began to gather on the northeast corner of the plaza on Thursday after school, and a call was received from Coral Springs Police about a large group of students walking to the plaza.
A BSO officer observed a large group gathering, and a fight had begun. However, before he could walk up to the student, the fight had stopped, and he could not determine who was fighting. After the crowd dispersed, a Sgt. observed a male from the fight from the day prior trespassing in the plaza. This male student was warned the day before, and there were numerous, posted BSO “No Trespassing” signs located throughout the plaza.
As the officers walked over to the male student who previously trespassed, they ordered him to sit down. This male student was going to be placed into custody and was not free to leave. The officer grabbed him and escorted him to the ground and placed him into custody without further incident.
While he was dealing with the male on the ground, he observed the male’s phone slide to the right of the officer and then behind him. He then saw a male wearing a red tank top reach down and attempt to grab the male student’s phone. The Sgt. ordered him to stay back while he was on the ground with the other student with his back turned. At this point, the male with the red tank top, took an aggressive stance towards the Sgt. and “bladed” his body and began clenching his fists.
The male was administered pepper spray and subsequently forced to the ground. Seeing the large crowd of 200 plus students converging on the two of them, the officer quickly jumped on the male with the red tank top. With the crowd closing in and the loud yelling and threat towards them, he pushed down on the male to ensure his weight was full on his person so he could not attempt to take flight or fight them.
The male with the red tank top felt like he was trying to push up while he was pushing down. Again, the three of them were outnumbered by the large group of students who were yelling, threatening, and surrounding them. The officer said he had to act quickly fearing he would get struck or have a student potentially grab weapons off his belt or vest. At one point, his left arm was free and next to him, while he placed his right arm under his face.
The officer stated he struck the male on the right side of his head with a closed fist as a distraction technique to free his right hand. The technique was successful, and he was able to place him into handcuffs without further incident.
Once additional units arrived, the crowd was pushed back from the location so the officers could administer water to the male with the red tank top, as well as requesting Tamarac Fire Rescue. He was later taken to Coral Springs Medical Center for medical clearance then transported to the Juvenile Assessment Center.
A judge downgraded the charges for the 15-year male from aggravated assault to resisting arrest without violence and trespassing and returned him to to the custody of his mother telling him not to return to where this occurred. “Don’t be out with this group of kids and use your proper discretion, young man,” he said.
Update: on April 23, Sheriff Gregory Tony said, “As we continue to gather information in our internal investigation, I have decided to change the deputies’ status from restricted administrative assignment to a suspended status as our investigation continues.”