CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. - Florida deputy Christopher Krickovich was ordered to surrender his gun and badge after a cellphone video went viral of him slamming a pepper-sprayed teen’s head to the ground on April 18.
Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony said that Krickovich was placed on restricted duty until an investigation into Thursday’s incident is complete.
“We will look at this as a fact-finding measure to make sure we hold folks accountable,” Tony said in a videotaped statement.
Broward County Mayor Mark Bogen called for Krickovich to be fired and another deputy disciplined, saying on Twitter that their conduct was “outrageous & unacceptable.”
But Jeff Bell, President of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association, criticized Tony’s decision, saying that they were implementing aggressive tactics pushed by the new sheriff.
“They did exactly what they were trained to do,” Bell said. He said Krickovich and the other deputies were surrounded by 200 students and feared for their safety. He went on to say that Tony should release the deputies’ body camera video which he said would explain why they reacted the way they did.
The video taken by a student and posted on social media shows Krickovich and Sgt. Greg Lacerra amid a crowd of students from J.P. Taravella High School after a fight outside a suburban Fort Lauderdale McDonald's.
Krickovich wrote in his report that because of a large fight Wednesday at the shopping center where the restaurant is located, the two were stationed there Thursday in case of a new eruption.
Krickovich said Thursday's fight ended before deputies could get there. He said as the crowd dispersed, Lacerra noticed a teen who had been told to stay out of the plaza after Wednesday's fight.
Krickovich said he arrested the teen for trespassing and put him on the ground, causing the teen to drop his cellphone. Then, he said, another teen in a red tank top bent down to pick up the phone.
Video from the incident then showed the teen in the red tank top standing up. He turned sideways and appeared to say something to Lacerra, who pepper-sprayed him and threw him to the ground.
Krickovich said he pushed down on the teen because he was trying to get up and he feared the teen would try to fight him or flee.
“The three of us were outnumbered by the large group of students who were yelling, threatening us and surrounding us,” Krickovich wrote. “I had to act quickly, fearing I would get struck or having a student potentially grab weapons off my belt.”
The teen, whose name was not released, was charged with assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest and trespassing.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.