A Broward County sheriff’s deputy has been placed on “restrictive administrative assignment” as outrage grew over the weekend about a video that shows a white officer banging the head of a black teenager to the ground and punching him. The video shows how one officer appears to push the teenager who was doused in pepper spray before another deputy pins him down and slams his head to the ground more than once before punching him in the head. Deputy Christopher Krickovich was ordered to surrender his gun and badge while the investigation into the Thursday incident is complete.
The video spread like wildfire on social media over the weekend, with numerous celebrities, including LeBron James, sharing it. “So wrong!! Hurts me to my soul!!” James tweeted.
“To think that could be my sons. Scary times man.” CNN commentator Keith Boykin tweeted, “This is police brutality.” Many of the social media posts regarding the video are accompanied by a hashtag, #JusticeForLucca.
Authorities have vowed they will carry out a thorough investigation. “I wanted to assure you that this incident is being conducted under a thorough investigation,” Sheriff Gregory Tony said in a video statement Friday. “We will look at this as a fact finding measure to ensure that we hold folks accountable.” The mayor of Broward County called for the firing of the deputy seen in the video. “The behavior of these Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies was outrageous and unacceptable,” Broward Mayor Mark Bogen said in a statement. “The officer who jumped on the student, punched the student and banged his head to the ground should be fired immediately.”
The officers were responding to reports of a fight outside a McDonald’s that is near a high school in Coral Springs. In a police report, Kirckovich defended himself by saying that officers were vastly outnumbered by some 200 students “who were yelling, threatening us and surrounding us, I had to act quickly, fearing I would get stuck or having a student potentially grab weapons off of my belt or vest.” Kirckovich wrote that the 15-year-old boy approached them as they were arresting another boy on a trespassing charge. Although the officer says the boy had an “aggressive stance” the video appears to show that he was walking away from the deputies after he was pepper sprayed. The teenager didn’t suffer any serious injuries, according to the police report.