People are calling the treatment of a 15-year-old named “Lucca” by a Florida deputy police brutality after a video of a recent incident has gone viral. According to an affidavit, Deputy Christopher Krickovich claims that he and his partner Sgt. Greg LaCerra were responding to a call at a McDonald’s after the restaurant’s employees complained that a large group of teens were gathering outside of their establishment for a fight. The fast-food restaurant was known as a popular place for teenagers to hang out after school, but the workers wanted authorities to help in case there was any trouble as there were frequent fights in the parking lot.
Krickovich says that he and his partner arrived on the scene after the fight was already over and told the teens to leave the area. One of the boys from the fight was identified as someone who was allegedly engaged in an incident from the day before and was told not to return. “While I was dealing with the male on the ground, I observed his phone slide to the right of me and then behind me. I observed a teen wearing a red tank top reach down and attempt to grab the male student’s phone,” Krickovich wrote.
The teen in the red shirt, identified on social media as a boy named “Lucca,” was reportedly a friend of the young man being arrested. He wanted to grab his phone and hold it for him before it was lost, stolen, or taken by the officers. In the viral video, viewers can see the moment Lucca grabs the phone and stands up as LaCerra pepper-sprays the teen in the face, grabs him, and throws him forcefully to the ground. Krickovich says that Lucca “took an aggressive stance” toward LaCerra and “bladed his body and began clenching his fists,” suggesting that the officers felt threatened.
Krickovich goes on to say that his encounter with Lucca was meant to de-escalate a situation where 200 teens were in attendance. He admits to punching the teen on the right side of his head as, what he calls, “a distractionary technique” in order to get Lucca to release his hands from under his head so that he could be handcuffed.
Celebrities including LeBron James, Anika Noni Rose, Michael Eric Dyson, Tevin Campbell, and Parkland school shooting survivor David Hogg all tweeted about the violent incident using the “#JusticeForLucca” hashtag while calling for others to get involved to help the teen.
The bleeding teen was taken into custody and charged with assault, resisting arrest, and trespassing. The public is calling for the officers involved to be fired, but as of now, Krickovich is the only one who has been disciplined by being placed on restricted duty.