Ex-BSO Deputy Cleared in 2019 Rough Arrest of 15-Year-Old

On April 18, 2019, Broward Sheriff's Office (BSO) deputies Christopher Krickovich and Greg LaCerra were captured on video pepper spraying 15-year-old Delucca Rolle and then smashing his face into the pavement outside a McDonald's in Tamarac.

The rough arrest began when Rolle tried to pick up a cell phone dropped by a fellow student whom police were arresting for fighting. Rolle, whose nose was broken in the incident, was initially charged with trespassing, resisting arrest, and assault of a police officer. But after footage of the encounter went viral, the Broward State Attorney's Office dropped all charges against the then-J.P. Taravella High School student and charged the officers instead: Krickovich with two counts of battery, and LaCerra with one battery charge. (The charge against the latter was dismissed last month.)

Images of the deputies slamming the Black teen to the ground sparked national outrage, leading to an outcry from local NAACP leaders and civil rights attorney Ben Crump.

Nearly three years after the violent takedown, a Broward jury has cleared Krickovich on both charges.

“The law in the state of Florida is that Chris Krickovich’s actions that day were 100 percent legal [and] 100 percent justifiable,” Krickovich's attorney, Jeremy Kroll, said during closing arguments on Monday.
Crump, who is representing Rolle, did not immediately respond to New Times' request for comment.

The verdict came in on day four of the trial, which began on July 20. A six-member jury unanimously found Krickovich not guilty of slamming Rolle's head into the pavement and punching him in the head. If convicted, Krickovich could have faced up to one year in the county jail and a $1,000 fine.

The jury viewed body camera footage and heard witness accounts from BSO officials, former J.P. Taravella students, and expert testimony, including a sheriff's training sergeant who testified that Krickovich “performed perfectly” in light of the circumstances. Kroll also told jurors that the site of the arrest was a “literal war zone” of “mayhem” and that Krickovich responded appropriately to defend himself in a “mob situation.”

The state contended that Krickovich acted illegally during the arrest and that the defense was trying to “oversell” jurors on the idea that the location was a war zone.

“This isn’t the Ukraine.... It’s a shopping plaza in Tamarac,” prosecutors said.

As New Times previously reported, Krickovich, LaCerra, and a third officer, Deputy Ralph Mackey, also faced charges of falsifying records and conspiracy to falsify records after allegedly fabricating details in the police report about what happened during Rolle's arrest.

The BSO fired Krickovich in December 2019. The sheriff's office confirmed that as of July 25, LaCerra and Mackey remain on the force.