TAMARAC, Fla. – Two videos that show excessive force by Broward Sheriff's Office deputies against two different children are examples of racial bias in Broward County and the state attorney's office, attorney says.
Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump held a news conference Thursday at the Broward County Public Defender's Office in Fort Lauderdale, demanding fair treatment and justice for his client, Delucca Rolle.
"America needs to know the racism and discrimination that is happening right here in Broward County," Crump said.
Rolle's arrest made national headlines after officer body camera footage showed appeared to show the then-15-year-old being pepper sprayed, his head pounded into the ground and his face punched by BSO deputies outside a Tamarac McDonald's in April.
Rolle required medical attention before he was arrested on charges of resisting arrest with violence and battery on a police officer. Rolle's charges were eventually dropped.
Two of the deputies accused in the case, Christopher Krickovich and Sgt. Gregory LaCerra, were charged with two counts of battery, which are misdemeanors.
A third deputy, Ralph Mackey, was charged with falsifying arrest records. All the charges filed against BSO deputies are misdemeanors.
Rolle testified in September in Mackey's trial, recalling for jurors the incident that led to his alleged assault, but Mackey was eventually acquitted.
Rolle is black. The three BSO deputies are white.
Crump says a more recent incident involving a white female student and a black BSO deputy had a completely different outcome, which highlights the inequality.
"Everybody had compassion for her, everybody had sympathy for (the student)," Crump said. "Well, where is that sympathy and compassion for (Delucca Role's mother)?"
During a Nov. 5 news conference, Sheriff Gregory Tony announced the arrest of BSO Deputy Willard Miller after video surveillance from Sept. 25, the same day Rolle testified against Mackey, appeared to show Miller slamming a student at Cross Creek School into the ground after she kicked his leg.
After an investigation, Tony announced Miller was arrested on suspicion of child abuse without great bodily harm, which is a third-degree felony. The girl was not charged.
"The byproduct of his actions were deplorable," Tony said during the Nov. 5 news conference. "They were uncalled for and they violated multiple policies just on the optics."
Krickovich and LaCerra have yet to face trial in connection with Rolle's arrest.
"I just want equal justice," Crump said. "Just how the others were treated, he should be treated the same way."
The Broward County State Attorney's Office told Local 10 reporter Ray Ramos that in the case of Miller, since he was an active school resource deputy, he is classified as a caregiver and therefore required to be charged with a felony.
"Charging decisions made by the Broward State Attorney's Office are based on the law and the evidence with no regard to the race of the perpetrator or the victim," spokeswoman Paula McMahon added.