FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A former Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy was found not guilty by a jury Monday in the rough arrest of a 15-year-old boy in Tamarac about three years ago.
After hearing the verdict, Christopher Krickovich was embraced by his family, friends and members of law enforcement.
“This is textbook. He did what he was taught to do, how can that be a criminal act?” defense attorney Jeremy Kroll said during his closing arguments.
A witness’s video shows Krickovich pushing Delucca Rolle’s head into the pavement and punching him on April 18, 2019, while in the parking lot of a McDonald’s restaurant.
The defense had two witnesses from BSO: Sgt. Gregory LaCerra, who was in the parking lot with Krikovich, and Sgt. Mel Murphy, who trained Krikovich.
“Rolle bladed his body in a posture to strike me,” LaCerra said during his testimony.
LaCerra, who pepper sprayed Rolle, was also facing a misdemeanor battery charge for his conduct that same day, but his charges were dismissed in June.
In court, LaCerra described what he and Krickovich were dealing with. He said the parking lot was crowded and Rolle was trying to take a phone from his friend Gary Duracell, who was arrested for trespassing.
Murphy, a 32-year veteran, said Rolle was actively resisting and Krickovich followed protocol. Murphy described Krickovich’s actions as “a beautiful display” of technique and a “lawful use of force.”
Prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump was hired by Rolle’s family after the arrest.
“These police officers violated the constitutional right of this child,” Crump said in 2019.
Andrew Scott is a former police chief and a doctor in criminal justice and gave his opinion on the case to Local 10 News.
“The body cameras and cameras that civilians use as evidence captures a snapshot of what transpired, doesn’t necessary capture what we refer to as a totally of circumstances,” he said.
Scott says while officers are not above the law a recent trend shows how convicting them of abusing power or force is often more difficult by design.
“They have a different set of laws that relate to how they use force,” said Scott.
Krickovich’s attorney said he will be seeking his job back, as well as back pay.
BSO released a statement to Local 10 News following the verdict, which read:
“The Broward Sheriff’s Office maintains an unwavering commitment to holding all employees accountable. Under my administration we will never be an organization that finds excessive force tolerable. That standard has been set at the Broward Sheriff’s Office and will not change. Independent criminal investigations or convictions of former employees do not supersede BSO’s administrative policies, standards, or expectations.”