Former Police Officer Acquitted of Battery Charge
July 31, 2022 Don Pumphrey, Jr. Criminal Defense, Violent Crimes Social Share
After a video went viral of a Broward Sheriff getting violent with a teen during an arrest, he was fired and has been facing charges for battery. While the defense argued that the deputies were simply doing their job, the prosecution claimed that the former deputy acted illegally with physical violence against the teenager.
A jury in Broward County has just acquitted the former officer of the charges against him. We will cover what exactly happened, and the responses to the not guilty verdict.
What was the Incident?
On April 13th, 2019, several Broward County police officers showed up at a McDonald’s in Tamarac in response to a large fight involving around 200 students the previous day. Delucca Rolle, 15 at the time, was arrested by the police officers.
A viral video surfaced from the arrest, which shows former Deputy Chris Krickovich slam Rolle’s head into the ground multiple times, and then punching him in the head. In the back of the video, you can hear one witness shouting, “What are you doing? He’s bleeding!”
Rolle was initially arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer and obstruction without violence for the incident that occurred, but the charges were later dropped. In a press release by Broward Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Gregory Tony announced that Deputy Krickovich had been fired after an internal affairs investigation.
The following is a statement by Sheriff Tony regarding Krickovich’s termination:
“When my deputies do the right thing, I will always support them and have their back. But I will not stand idly by while anyone violates his or her sworn duty to protect. Even a singular incident of excessive force by one of our deputies creates distrust between the community and our organization, and that is something I will not allow. We are holding ourselves to the highest standards of professionalism and accountability. Therefore, I have decided to terminate Deputy Krickovich for his actions in the Tamarac case.”
Deputy Krickovich and Sgt. Greg Lacerra—who had pepper sprayed Rolle—were both charged with misdemeanor battery for the violent arrest. Ralph Mackey, a third deputy at the scene, was also charged with falsifying the records to attempt to cover up just how rough the arrest was. Mackey was found not guilty in September, and both Krickovich and Lacerra pleaded not guilty for their criminal charges.
During the trial, defense attorney Jeremy Kroll argued that Krickovich and the other deputies were severely outnumbered by a hostile crowd, and that Rolle had made an advance toward them. “You’re talking about a situation not only in a dangerous place, but it exploded a day before in violence…this is exactly what police officers are trained to do under those circumstances,” Kroll said.
When the videos were brought up, one from a cellphone and another from a bodycam, Kroll argued that it doesn’t show the entire altercation. “This has been presented as a snapshot, two second period of time of what happened on the ground instead of the motion picture of what happened out there that day and the days before,” Kroll argued.
Three years after the incident, a six-member Broward County jury acquitted Krickovich of the battery charge on July 25th, 2022. The deliberation only took about three hours to find the former deputy not guilty. A professional standards committee had recommended that Krickovich needed no discipline, but Sheriff Tony disagreed by standing firm about his decision to terminate Krickovich.
Responses to the Acquittal
After the verdict was announced, retired Broward County Sheriff’s Capt. Neil Glassman allegedly exchanged a heated conversation with prosecutor Chris Killoran outside of the courtroom. Killoran accused the former captain of intimidating him: “Apparently captains like to get in my face and try to intimidate prosecutors. They should know nobody is above the law and that we will continue to prosecute these cases to the fullest of our abilities.”
Clintina Rolle, Delucca Rolle’s mother, responded to the not guilty verdict. “That means the video doesn’t even matter, like you can see something, but it doesn’t matter,” she told 7 News Miami.
Krickovich is supposedly seeking to get his job back, along with missed pay. However, Sheriff Gregory Tony has made it clear that will not be happening with Broward Sheriff’s Office.
Misdemeanor Battery in Florida
Battery is defined under Florida Statute Section 784.03 as when the following occurs:
- The defendant actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against the will of the other; or
- The defendant intentionally causes bodily harm to another person.
Battery is considered a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida, and is punishable with up to a $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail. If the defendant has had a prior conviction of any level of battery, then the charge would be upgraded to a third-degree felony. The penalty for a third-degree penalty is up to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison. To read more about the different levels of battery charges and potential defenses, find our informative page here.
Escalations with the Police
When the police show up to ask questions about a case or to make an arrest, it is imperative to know and understand your rights. Even if you have not committed a crime, dealing with the police can often create a high-stress environment.
One should always remember that the burden of an escalation with the police should fall onto the officer, and not the civilian who was involved. However, it is also important to note that an officer may not always handle a situation in a way that protects everyone involved. If you find yourself in a scenario with a police officer where they have violated your rights, or cause harm to you, it is important to remember what your rights are. You can read about all of your rights or what to do if you have witnessed police brutality on our page here.
Finding a Defense Attorney in Florida
Dealing with the police can be extremely stressful. If you have been accused or arrested for a crime, it is important to immediately seek out the help of a skilled defense attorney. This is especially true if you believe that your rights have been violated by a physical encounter with the police. The best way to protect yourself and build a defense for your case is to work with an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney. Don Pumphrey and his team at Pumphrey Law Firm have represented clients all across the state of Florida, and will work tirelessly to ensure your freedom. Call (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message for a free consultation today.
Written by Karissa Key