Deputy Accused of Slamming Teen’s Head Into Ground Asserts ‘Stand Your Ground’ Defense

Deputy Accused of Slamming Teen's Head Into Ground

Video still.

By Saraana Jamraj

In 2019, Deputy Christopher Krickovich made headlines when a video of him slamming an unarmed 15-year-old’s head into the ground went viral—leading to a national outcry against the Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies’ use of force.

On April 18, 2019, Krickovich, Sergeant Gregory LaCerra along with Deputy Ralph Mackey, were all charged with crimes related to the incident outside of a Tamarac McDonald’s.

Sheriff Gregory Tony fired Krickovich in December of 2019, after the conclusion of the internal affairs investigation for his alleged excessive use of force.

Mackey was later found not guilty of falsifying evidence, while Krickovich and LaCerra still await trial for battery and falsifying public records.

Now, they’re both attempting to gain immunity, by invoking Stand Your Ground laws– the Florida law was thrust into the spotlight during George Zimmerman’s trial for the murder of Trayvon Martin. His lawyers ultimately did not invoke the law in their defense, but the jury was still given instructions to consider it in their decision.

On May 11, 2020, Krickovich and LaCerra filed motions for pre-trial immunity.

Stand Your Ground addresses justifiable force. Typically, it is invoked when a defendant claims their use of force was the result of a threat of death or great bodily harm.

The viral video appears to show the teenager, Delucca Rolle, reaching for a cellphone on the ground. After standing, he was then pepper-sprayed, thrown to the ground, punched in the head, and then his head slammed into the ground by the deputies.

According to the video, the teen did not appear to throw punches, make any physical attacks, or verbally threaten any of the deputies in question.

Instead, in Christopher Krickovich’s motion obtained by Tamarac Talk, he claimed that Stand Your Ground should be invoked due to the teenager’s “angry face” and “pre-attack posture.”

The document outlines the events leading to the head-slamming incident, including over 80 calls to BSO in the months prior, about a large group of teenagers from a Coral Springs school, J.P. Taravella High School, congregating in the Tamarac Town Center Plaza, where the incident occurred.

The calls often involved criminal conduct by the students, including fights and disregard for rules in stores, according to the motion, which also states that Krickovich has a video of a brawl that occurred the day before the incident. He intends to show this evidence at the Stand Your Ground hearing.

According to the motion, the video shows multiple students from Taravella High School engaged in brawling, mayhem, and causing property damage. However, it does not specify that Delucca Rolle was involved in that incident, nor does it explain why a brawl the day before would be used to invoke Stand Your Grand against Rolle the day after.

The presumption is that it created a climate upon which deputies feared for their safety when dealing with the teens.

According to Krickovich and LaCerra, another student, G.D., had been involved in the brawl the day before and was told to stay away from the plaza. He was arrested when he returned on April 18 — the day of the incident.

The motion states that G.D.’s phone dropped during his arrest, and then Rolle attempted to pick the phone up despite being told not to and was subsequently pushed by Gregory LaCerra.

Rolle told LaCerra not to touch him and then, according to the report, the teen showed an “angry face” to the deputies.

They also claim that “objective evidence” demonstrates that the teen made a fist, and “got into a stance consistent with a pre-attack posture.”

The video showing LaCerra pepper-spraying Rolle, then throwing him to the ground, is explained in the motion as the result of the “uncertain, unfriendly atmosphere paired with the perceived threat and tactical concerns of a large crowd.”

Once on the ground, the teen resisted, which the motion says justified Krickovich’s physical use of force. However, it does not explicitly mention the punches to the head or the repeated head slamming shown on video.

Instead, the motion claims that the force was lawful and consistent under Stand Your Ground statutes. It concludes that Krickovich reasonably defended himself and is entitled to immunity for his actions.

The next hearing for both Krickovich and LaCerra is scheduled for May 28 at 11:00 a.m. via Zoom.

 

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Author Profile

Saraana Jamraj
Saraana Jamraj
Saraana Selene Jamraj is a writer, activist, and a student pursuing her master's degree in mass communications at Florida International University.

She's currently the communications manager at The Salt Box in Parkland and has lived in Coral Springs since 2004.