FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump held a news conference Thursday to discuss the treatment of a teenager whose rough arrest by Broward Sheriff's Office deputies has gained national attention.
Crump and the NAACP are getting involved in the treatment of Delucca Rolle, who was pepper sprayed, thrown to the ground and punched by deputies April 18 outside a McDonald's in Tamarac.
The 15-year-old's mother stood next to Crump at the news conference, where the attorney said she is grateful that the state attorney dropped charges against her son, who was initially arrested on charges of trespassing, resisting arrest and assaulting a law enforcement officer.
"As a single mother raising a black child, she understands how daunting it is to have him caught up in the criminal justice system," Crump said. "But let it be clear on the record, we never felt that Delucca Rolle should have been charged with anything in the first place when you review that video. In fact, we believe the video shows ocular proof of who really committed a crime that day."
"I saw the video and I had anxiety -- like an anxiety attack hit me," the teen's mother, Clintina Rolle, said. "Like, I couldn't even breathe. I had to hold my chest as I said, 'That ain't my child.'"
Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony is calling for due process for the suspended deputies involved in the incident.
Deputy Christopher Krickovich and Sgt. Gregory LaCerra have been suspended with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
Crump, however, said the video clearly shows that the deputies were in the wrong.
"They were not acting like responsible professionals with proper training, following procedures," he said.
Broward County prosecutors have said they won't file charges against Rolle, but Crump said he, Rolle's family and NAACP leaders are demanding that the deputies are held accountable for their actions.
"When you watch that video, it is heartbreaking if you're anybody, much less a parent, much less a parent of a child of color, because you say, 'But by the grace of God, there go I,'" Crump said. "And so, we wanted to be clear with the state attorney that we expect -- no -- that we demand that you hold everybody accountable on that video who committed a crime."
Crump didn't rule out filing a lawsuit against the Broward Sheriff's Office, but said their priority at this time is getting justice for Rolle by seeing the deputies involved in his arrest charged.
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