By Selene Raj
After a sergeant and a former deputy attempted to get their cases dismissed using a Stand Your Ground defense, only one was left with a battery charge for his role in the rough arrest of a Tamarac teen.
Broward Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Gregory LaCerra, who was shown on video pepper-spraying then 15-year-old Delucca Rolle, argued that he did so partially because the teen made an “angry face” and had a “pre-attack posture.”
In his bid for pre-trial immunity, attorneys for Sgt. LaCerra argued that because he warned Rolle to stand back or get pepper-sprayed, and Rolle picked up the phone on the floor anyway, Sgt. LaCerra’s actions were further justified.
Sgt. LaCerra and his co-defendant, former Deputy Christopher Krickovich, along with witnesses, spoke about the chaotic atmosphere on the day of the incident, as well as in the months leading up to it which often involved large groups of J.P. Taravella High School students fighting.
They said that the repeated fights in Tamarac Town Center made them feel threatened—though Rolle was not implicated in any of the fights.
Judge Jill K. Levy ruled in Sgt. LaCerra’s favor—dropping charges of battery.
“Utilizing pepper-spray to diffuse the situation and pushing Delucca on the ground to arrest him was a justified response to Delucca’s apparent imminent threat of harm,” Judge Levy said in her official court ruling.
Sgt. LaCerra still faces charges of falsifying records on the police report after the incident.
Krickovich, who appeared to slam Rolle’s head into the concrete, was not granted pre-trial immunity.
His battery charge still stands in addition to his charge of falsifying records.
“Once [Rolle] was pushed on to the ground by LaCerra to make an arrest, he no longer posed a threat of imminent harm,” said Judge Levy.
The court found that a reasonable person situated in Krickovich’s position, given all the knowledge Krickovich had, would not have acted in the same manner.
“When Krickovich jumped on top of [Rolle], the use of non-deadly force in pushing his head into the ground and punching him in the head was not a reasonable action of self-defense as would be justified [by law],” said Judge Levy in the ruling.
In a joint statement, Rolle’s attorneys Ben Crump and Sue-Ann Robinson, expressed their disappointment.
“The message to this generation of Black Americans is: you can be pepper-sprayed, beaten, and falsely arrested, and the police will be permitted to hide behind a false stand your ground defense.”
Crump and Robinson said that it once again highlights the two justice systems in America; however, they remain hopeful that the State will vigorously pursue justice against Krickovich and that he will be permanently dismissed from his position.
“Delucca and the residents of Broward County deserve at least that much.”
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- Selene Raj is a writer and a Florida International University graduate. Born in Trinidad and raised in America, she completed her Master's in Mass Communications in 2020, and has been living in Coral Springs since 2004. She is passionate about the communities she lives and works in and loves reporting and sharing stories that are as complex and meaningful as the people who live in them.
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