A sheriff’s deputy was reassigned on Friday, April 19 after a cell phone video surfaced that depicted the deputy punching a young man in the head during an arrest.
After receiving a call about a fight between several students at Tamarac shopping center in Florida, police arrived and instructed the teenagers to leave the area. Several young men were caught trespassing shortly thereafter, and were arrested.
According to both, the cell phone video taken by another student and the arrest report, a black teenager in a tank top was pepper sprayed, shoved to the ground, held down and punched in the head by police deputy Christopher Krickovich. Students nearby told reporters afterwards that they attempted to intervene but were pepper sprayed. Two teenagers were arrested, but are both minors and have not been named. One was charged with resisting arrest, trespassing and assaulting an officer, and the other was charged with trespassing.
In the arrest report he filed, Deputy Christopher Krickovich stated that he saw the young man in the tank top reach for the cell phone of one of the teenagers being arrested and take an “aggressive stance” towards the other deputies present, which lead to the actions taken by the deputy. His report also indicated that he feared one of the students present during the arrest would reach for one of the weapons on his belt, as there were many students present at the scene.
“At this point, his left arm was free and next to him, while he placed his arm under his face,” said Krickovich’s report. “I struck the male in the right side of his head with a closed fist as a distractionary technique to free his right hand.”
According to documentation from the Broward County, Florida Sheriff’s Department, Krickovich was placed on administrative assignment, meaning that he is required to produce all county-issued weapons, and is not allowed in a sheriff’s department aside from his own without permission from internal affairs.
“After being sprayed, the teen held his face and walked away,” said Broward mayor Mark Bogen. “If the deputy wanted to arrest the student, he could have easily done so without throwing him to the ground…[The incident] was outrageous and unacceptable.”
Recently appointed Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony offered commentary on the incident, saying, “I’m not reading from a script to you. Roughly 90 days ago, I was appointed to this position exclusively about accountability. And that accountability will be held not just for the sake of when we are right, but in the cases where we may be wrong.”
The department has since posted a video clip on Twitter, stating that they hear the public’s outrage and requests that the deputy be fired, but that an investigative process is necessary before those actions can be considered.
“This is the most dangerous and electrifying situation for any law enforcement administrator to handle,” said Tony. “Any time a white deputy is involved in contact with using force with a black youth, this thing blows up.”