Charges dropped against Broward teen who was head-slammed on pavement by sheriff’s deputy

Video shows Broward deputies pepper-spraying, punching teen

Video posted on social media shows Broward sheriff's deputies pepper-spraying and punching a teen during a confrontation near J.P. Taravella High.
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Video posted on social media shows Broward sheriff's deputies pepper-spraying and punching a teen during a confrontation near J.P. Taravella High.

A few hours after meeting with the family of a high school student whose head was slammed into the pavement during a rough arrest that was captured on cellphone video last week, Broward County prosecutors said they were dropping all the charges against the teenager.

“The Broward State Attorney’s Office has made the decision that we will not file any charges against the 15-year-old juvenile who was arrested on Thursday in Tamarac,” according to a statement released early Tuesday evening.

The two Broward Sheriff’s deputies who arrested DeLucca Rolle also have been suspended during a continuing investigation into their conduct, prosecutors said in the same statement.

Prosecutors announced they were dropping the charges against the teen after his family hired renowned civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump. Before the charges were dropped, Crump released a statement calling the arresting deputies’ actions “unconscionable” and accusing them of trampling on the civil rights of a young, unarmed black male.

“Starting now,” Crump said in a news release on his Instagram account, “we will seek justice through every avenue possible for Lucca and his family.”

Crump also demanded that all charges against DeLucca, known to friends and family as Lucca, be dropped immediately and that the officer involved in the incident be charged with assault and battery.

Crump, who has had a series of high-profile civil rights cases, made his name back in 2012 when he represented the family of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old Miami-Dade teen who was killed outside his father’s home in Sanford by night watchman George Zimmerman.

Lucca was arrested last Thursday in the parking lot of a McDonald’s restaurant near J.P. Taravella Senior High School, where he attends school. The teen and dozens of others from the school had made their way there to watch a fight. Deputies said they were already patrolling the area because a fight had broken out there the previous day.

The cellphone video, which was not time-stamped and which first appeared on Snapchat, showed Broward Deputy Christopher Krickovich pepper spray Lucca as the teen moved toward him. Then the deputy tackled him to the ground and slammed his head into the pavement twice before punching the teen in the head. Another teen had already been on the ground handcuffed and in custody, deputies said, because they recognized him as someone who had taken part in a fight there on Wednesday.

Lucca was charged with assaulting an officer and obstruction without violence. The violent encounter made national headlines, and the backlash from some Broward leaders was immediate. The Broward County mayor and a Broward County Public School Board member demanded Krickovich’s dismissal. Over the weekend NBA star LeBron James weighed in on Twitter questioning the deputy’s actions, as did Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills and Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr.

Last week, Krickovich and Sgt. Greg LaCerra, who took part in the arrest, were relieved of duty by Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony. On Tuesday, Tony said he changed the status of the two officers from a restricted administrative assignment, to suspended.

Also on Tuesday, BSO released documents explaining what actions had been taken against Krickovich and LaCerra. Both men were ordered to turn in their weapons, vehicles, badges and any identification related to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, according to an internal affairs memo filed by the department.

Krickovich and LaCerra have also been prohibited from entering any BSO facility and were told not to discuss the incident with anyone other than their attorneys pending the outcome of an investigation into the incident.