Two Broward Sheriff's deputies seen in a viral video of a teen's arrest in Tamarac said Monday there was a history of trouble at the shopping plaza where the incident happened and that put them in fear for their safety.
Deputies Christopher Krickovich and Gregory LaCerra are facing battery charges from the way they handled the April 2019 arrest of a then 15-year-old DeLucca Rolle. Hearings continued Monday to use Florida's so-called "Stand Your Ground" law as they hope to prevent prosecutors from moving forward with the charges against them.
Prosecutors say the two deputies crossed the line and used excessive force when taking Rolle into custody. Krickovich and LaCerra claimed that they acted reasonably considering the circumstances at the plaza and what they knew in advance about them.
“I would say easily 300 students or people in that plaza moving about in swarms,” Det. Patrick Kegan testified.
Kegan was the first BSO deputy to tell the judge over Zoom that going back as far as 2016, teens gathered to fight at the location.
“Because of the sheer amounts of kids and swarms of people and fights that were going on, I believed that I had addressed this particular group and now people could come and go into Publix, and my attention needed to be focused on other groups of kids that were fighting and causing problems,” Kegan said.
Kegan and two other deputies testified Krickovich and LaCerra were well aware of their reports describing the problems. A bank employee also described what she had seen taking place over time.
“They became more and more violent, more and more aggressive, more and more common, and they were growing," Marizol Garcia said. "They just kept growing."
Garcia also said she saw the large crowd gather the day of Rolle’s encounter with the deputies.
Prosecutors did establish that the deputies who gave accounts of what happened at the plaza in the past didn’t have any contact with Rolle in any of the incidents they described.
The judge has already ruled that the deputies have made their basic case for "Stand Your Ground" immunity, and it's now up to prosecutors to show why they shouldn’t receive it. If granted immunity, the prosecution against them ends.