Florida prosecutors announced Tuesday no charges will be filed against the 15-year-old boy seen being pepper-sprayed and assailed by deputies in a disturbing viral video -- but the Broward County State Attorney's Office said it's continuing to investigate the actions of the law enforcement personnel involved in the altercation.
On Thursday, Broward County sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of a fight outside a McDonald’s restaurant where about 200 students had gathered. Authorities said the teen's interaction with deputies began when he picked up a phone belonging to one of the students detained over the initial scuffle.
WARNING: VIDEO CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES AND LANGUAGE
Video recorded by another bystander in the group appears to then show a man later identified as Sgt. Greg LaCerra pepper-spraying the teen after he stood up and appeared to say something, according to The Associated Press. Though the teen, who has not been identified, doesn't engage officers physically in the cellphone footage, LaCerra follows spraying the irritant at the boy by appearing to knock him down. Then an officer identified as Deputy Christopher Krickovich tries to repeatedly slam the teen’s head into the ground and punches him. The teen was reportedly not seriously injured in the incident.
Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony announced Tuesday he was suspending Krickovich and LaCerra, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported. The two were initially placed on “restrictive administrative assignment.”
“As we continue to gather information in our internal investigation, I have decided to change the deputies’ status from restricted administrative assignment to a suspended status,” Tony said.
Krickovich wrote in the arrest report that deputies “were outnumbered by the large group of students who were yelling, threatening us and surrounding us.”
"I had to act quickly, fearing I would get struck or having a student potentially grab weapons off my belt,” he wrote, according to the arrest report.
High-profile attorney Benjamin Crump was hired by the teen’s family to represent him. He wrote in an Instagram post Tuesday the officers involved should be fired and charged to “the full extent of the law" for their actions.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.