FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony met with black county leaders Saturday amid a growing outcry over a black teenager's rough arrest by deputies, cautioning officials that an investigation needs to be completed.
On Thursday, a 15-year-old boy got into a struggle with Broward deputies outside a McDonald's in Tamarac. Bystanders recorded the incident with their mobile phones. The videos show Deputy Christopher Krickovich using pepper spray on the boy and then later another deputy punching the boy in the head several times and forcing his head into the pavement.
The incident has received national attention after celebrities, including basketball star LeBron James, have weighed on social media, decrying the use force.
Tony, who was appointed to the position by Gov. Ron DeSantis in January, is the county's first black sheriff. The meeting with the organization Broward Black Elected Officials had been previously scheduled, but the topic of the discussion changed due to recent events.
"Anytime a white deputy is involved in contact, using force with a black youth, this thing blows up," Tony told the officials. "There has been a large cry of, 'Just go out and fire him. Get rid of him.' And all these other things. Folks, it don't work that way. You all understand that. There has to be an investigative process and due process elements so it's going to be done the right way."
Tony posted a video of his remarks to social media. The video did not include how the black leaders responded.
The Broward County Sheriff's Office said Krickovich has been placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation. Krickovich said in the arrest report that he was surrounded by a large crowd of teenagers at the McDonald's.
"I had to act quickly, fearing I would get stuck or having a student potentially grab weapons off of my belt or vest," he wrote.
Broward County Mayor Mark Bogen and others have said that the deputy who slammed the teen's head on the ground should be fired. Tony promised transparency but asked for more time.
"I'm not going to sit and try to brush anything under the table," Tony said. "The facts are what they are. I just need them in a formal, written documentation that shows we have done our due diligence."