Social media and celebrities, including LeBron James, have responded in disgust to viral video of a Florida teenager being slammed into the ground face first by a police officer and punched repeatedly in his head.
Now, Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony, after meeting with Black county leaders on Saturday (April 20), is telling officials that an investigation needs to be completed before a judgement can be made.
The video shows a 15-year-old boy, identified as Lucca on social media, picking up a phone he dropped next to Deputy Christopher Krickovich, who then used pepper spray on him while another deputy punched the boy in the head several times after he was slammed to the ground. He also forced his head into the pavement.
Tony, who’s the county’s first Black sheriff, says the race dynamic is a big factor into why the video went viral. "Anytime a white deputy is involved in contact, using force with a black youth, this thing blows up," Tony said during a meeting with Broward Black Elected Officials. "There has been a large cry of, 'Just go out and fire him. Get rid of him.' And all these other things. Folks, it don't work that way. You all understand that. There has to be an investigative process and due process elements so it's going to be done the right way."
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office said Krickovich has been placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of an investigation.
Broward County Mayor Mark Bogen, along with a large swath of people who have viewed the video, are calling for the deputy to be fired. Tony says he promises transparency but is asking for more time.
"I'm not going to sit and try to brush anything under the table," Tony said. "The facts are what they are. I just need them in a formal, written documentation that shows we have done our due diligence."
Watch video of the conference below.
.@browardsheriff Gregory Tony holds meeting with Black Elected Officials & emphasizes a commitment to transparency & accountability.— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) April 20, 2019
We don’t want lipservice. We want racist cops fired and prosecuted and charges against Lucca dropped.#JusticeForLucca pic.twitter.com/HBPflshS2v
Photo: Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images