FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Three Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies are facing criminal charges in connection to a 15-year-old teen who was pepper sprayed.
Broward State Attorney Mike Satz announced Wednesday that charges were filed against Sgt. Gregory LaCerra, 51, and deputies Christopher Krickovich, 29, and Ralph Mackey, 49.
Clintina Rolle, the mother of the pepper sprayed teen, Delucca Rolle, spoke at a Wednesday afternoon press conference regarding the charges.
“I was grateful because it made me realize that when kids do something, they should be accountable for what they have done, and when adults do something, they should be accountable for what they have done, so emotionally, I felt OK,” she said.
LaCerra faces two counts of battery for spraying the 15-year-old student in the face with pepper spray and throwing him to the pavement. He also faces one count of falsifying records and one count of conspiracy to falsify records for falsifying the description of the circumstances of the juvenile’s arrest.
Krickovich faces two counts of battery for slamming the 15-year-old student’s face or head to the pavement and punching the juvenile in the head with his fist. He also faces two counts of falsifying records and one count of conspiracy to falsify records for falsifying the description of the circumstances of the juvenile’s arrest.
Mackey faces one count of falsifying records and one count of conspiracy to falsify records for falsifying the description of the circumstances of the juvenile’s arrest.
All three deputies have been suspended without pay.
The battery and falsifying records charges are first-degree misdemeanors, which carry maximum punishments of up to one year in jail. The conspiracy charges are second-degree misdemeanors, which carry punishments of up to 60 days in jail.
Attorney Ben Crump released a statement Wednesday afternoon that read:
“It is about time the three officers face the consequences of their actions against 15-year-old Delucca Rolle back in April. Wearing a badge is not a license to hurt children and then lie about it – with these charges, the world can now see clearly that is what happened. The fact that the officers were charged with falsifying records and conspiracy to falsify records is rare, and it may represent a new trend in accountability for law enforcement officials. While the path to justice for Delucca is a long road, we are glad to see the system take a positive step forward today by charging the officers responsible.”
Jeff Bell, the president of the Deputies Association, released a statement Wednesday afternoon that read:
“Deputies used reasonable force to make an arrest and subdue one individual who resisted at the beginning. This entire case against the Deputies has turned into a political posturing event. Maybe if the Sheriff would spend less time trying to be a politician and spend more time learning how to be a sheriff, this could have turned out different.”
The charges center on the controversial arrest of the 15-year-old Rolle back in April.
“This is a bad example, and it’s gonna set up a mindset that law enforcement individuals not to take the proper action in the future out of fear of being arrested,” Bell said over the phone. “This sends a shocking message to every law enforcement officer that whether you take the proper action, not enough action, too much action or just the wrong decision, you will have to worry about the State Attorney’s Office coming after you criminally.”
Cellphone video shows Rolle being pepper sprayed before he is thrown to the ground and punched while being arrested.
“Everybody, Stevie Wonder could see that this was aggravated assault and battery,” Crump said at a June 26 press conference.
Rolle said her son suffered a broken nose and is still affected months later.
“My son is still a little fearful of the police because of that, but I want to tell everyone, ‘Thank you,’ and I want to tell the state attorney, ‘Thank you for making the right decision,” she said.
Rolle was originally charged with trespassing, assault on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest without violence. Those charges have since been dropped.
Court appearances for the deputies have not yet been scheduled.
BSO said their internal affairs investigation remains open.
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