FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Christopher Krickovich, the former Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy who was seen pushing the head of a teenager into the pavement during an arrest last year, says he was protecting himself and the deputies around him from a large crowd that was becoming irritated.
Krickovich testified for more than three hours Thursday in Day 5 of a “stand your ground” hearing over the rough arrest of Delucca Rolle that was captured on bodyworn camera and cell phone video outside a Tamarac McDonald’s in April 2019.
“It got loud. It was definitely scary. Everybody was screaming ... it was chaos,” Krickovich said, describing the scene that day.
The other deputy involved in the case, Gregory LaCerra, testified Wednesday that he also felt threatened when he pepper-sprayed Rolle, who was 15 at the time.
Prosecutors argue the deputies should have done more to deescalate the situation and only sought out Rolle because he was closest to them.
Earlier in the hearing, Krickovich’s attorney Jeremy Kroll outlined that the deputies responded to a group of young people fighting at that McDonald’s parking lot, where witnesses say there had been many problems in the past.
Krickovich described how the crowd of what he said was more than a hundred people began to gather around the three responding deputies as he first placed student Gary Dieureslil into handcuffs.
“Sgt. LaCerra had ordered the group of kids behind us to stay back and now they’re right on top of us,” Krickovich said.
Krickovich says he saw Rolle clenching his fist in front of LaCerra before LaCerra pepper-sprayed him.
“I knew that I needed to get on top of Mr. Rolle immediately,” Krickovich testified.
The deputy said Rolle was resisting arrest and he was trying to control him.
“My objective was to pin him down onto the ground so he would stop resisting,” Krickovich said.
The defense describes the blow the deputy made to Rolle’s head as a distractionary strike.
“It worked lite it’s designed to do. He immediately stopped all resistance,” Krickovich said.
During cross-examination, state prosecutor Chris Killoran asked Krickovich, “So when you are frightened, the level of force utilized is unlimited then for you every time you are at that location?”
“Again, I would say every situation is different,” the deputy responded.
Krickovich was fired last December by Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony.
The hearing will continue Friday morning.