Attorney Benjamin Crump and NAACP Call for Criminal Charges for FL Officers Who Assaulted Teen

Maria Perez SAVE THIS
Benjamin Crump speaks at the 2013 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) convention in Orlando, Florida, July 15, 2013 (REUTERS/David Manning).

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the civil rights attorney representing a Black teenager who was brutally arrested by Broward County sheriff’s deputies in April have called on the prosecutor’s investigating the case to charge the officers involved.

In a viral video posted to social media, officers Christoper Krickovich and Sergeant Greg LaCerra pepper sprayed Delucca Rolle, 15, pushed him to the ground, and punched his head. In the initial arrest report previously reviewed by The North Star, the deputies were patrolling the Tamarac Town Square in Tamarac, Florida on April 18 because they had received a report about students fighting in the parking lot.

Krickovich said that LaCerra spotted one teen who was trespassing in the parking lot who had been involved in another fight the day before. While LaCerra was detaining that teen, he saw Rolle trying to pick up the teen’s cellphone that slid away from him and ordered Rolle to get back. The deputy said that Rolle “took an aggressive stance towards Sergeant LaCerra” and allegedly “bladed his body and began clenching his fists,” which led to him being pepper sprayed and pushed down by the officers.

Following the violent arrest, many activists and members of the community called for the officers to be fired. The charges against the 15-year-old were dropped a few days after the incident. The officers were placed on paid leave during the investigation, according to CNN.

On June 26, Benjamin Crump, the attorney representing Rolle, along with the teen’s family members and the NAACP, criticized the Broward State Attorney’s office for not placing charges on the officers.

“It’s been two months now, over two months, with a video… and the state attorney still says that they don’t have the evidence to charge the police officer for this crime against this child,” Crump said during a press conference, according to CNN. “Everybody, Stevie Wonder can see that this was aggravated assault and battery.”

Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony told WFOR-TV that the office had turned over their findings of the investigation into the officer’s conduct to the Broward State Attorney’s Office on May 10th.

“We are continuing to wait until the State Attorney makes a decision as to whether or not there will be any criminal charges that they may pursue related to this incident before we can move forward and finalize our internal affairs investigation,” Tony told the news station.

In a statement to WFOR-TV, state attorney Michael J. Satz wrote that the office “has no role in the Broward Sheriff’s Office internal affairs investigations regarding whether or not the deputies involved in these incidents should be disciplined so we refer any questions about that process to [the Broward Sheriff’s Office].” The investigation into the allegations of criminal misconduct against the officers is almost finished and the prosecutors will announce a decision soon, the statement read.

“Prosecutors have a legal duty to investigate cases fully before we file criminal charges and our office is complying with that duty. It is important that these types of investigations are done properly,” the statement obtained by the news station read. “It is important to get it right. Rushing to file criminal charges without conducting a proper investigation would be counterproductive.”

The NAACP’s Fort Lauderdale/Broward County branch president, Marsha Ellison, told CNN that she wants Satz to hold the officers under investigation accountable.

“We said that if the state attorney’s office did not do the right thing that we would be back. We said that if the sheriff’s office did not do the right thing and hold their people accountable, then we would be back. And so, those things have not happened,” Ellison told the news station.

A few days after the press conference, the teen was arrested again in Lauderhill, Florida. Lauderhill spokesperson Lieutenant Mike Santiago told the Miami Herald that Rolle was arrested on Friday after 11 p.m. for trespassing in a stolen vehicle and resisting arrest without violence.

“I can confirm that the Lauderhill Police Department arrested [Delucca] Rolle shortly after 11 p.m. on June 28 for the charges of trespassing in a stolen conveyance and resisting/obstructing an officer without violence,” Santiago wrote in an email to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

 


About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.

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