Three Broward Sheriff's deputies who were involved in the April arrest of a teen who was seen on video being thrown to the ground and punched while he was taken into custody are facing criminal charges.
The Broward State Attorney's Office announced Wednesday that Sgt. Gregory LaCerra and Deputies Christopher Krickovich and Ralph Mackey are facing misdemeanor charges related to the April 18 encounter in a McDonald's parking lot with students from J.P. Taravella High School in Tamarac.
LaCerra, 51, was charged with two counts of battery for spraying the 15-year-old student in the face with pepper spray and throwing him to the pavement, the state attorney's office said. Krickovich, 29, was charged with two counts of battery for slamming the 15-year-old student’s face or head to the pavement and punching the juvenile in the head with his fist, officials said.
LaCerra, Krickovich and Mackey, 49, all face charges of falsifying records and conspiracy to falsify records for falsifying the description of the circumstances of the juvenile’s arrest, officials said.
All three deputies are expected to appear in court to be arraigned on the charges in the coming weeks. The battery and falsifying records charges are first-degree misdemeanors, which carry maximum punishments of up to one year in jail. The conspiracy charges are second-degree misdemeanors, which carry punishments of up to 60 days in jail.
The deputies had responded to a fight outside the McDonald's, where some 200 students gathered. Sheriff's office reports said the 15-year-old tried to pick up a phone belonging to a student being detained.
Video showed LaCerra pepper-sprayed the teen after he stood up and appeared to say something to him. LaCerra then threw the teen to the ground, where Krickovich jumped on him, slammed his head twice and punched him.
Krickovich's union previously said his actions were in self-defense. The teen wasn't seriously hurt.
BSO reports showed two juveniles were charges in the incident, one with trespassing, the 15-year-old with assaulting an officer and resisting an officer without violence. The charges against the 15-year-old were later dropped.
Officials with BSO said Wednesday that LaCerra, Krickovich and Mackey have been suspended without pay.
"Until the criminal case concludes, BSO’s Internal Affairs case remains open. Per Florida Statute 112.532(6)(a)2, the internal affairs administrative investigation is 'tolled' or deferred until the criminal proceeding is resolved," BSO said in a statement.