BROWARD COUNTY, FL (WPLG/CNN) – A violent encounter between a Florida teenager and Broward County law enforcement was caught on camera.
Authorities said a crowd of teens was threatening and out of hand, but others said deputies used too much force.
Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Krickovich is on restricted administrative assignment following the incident in a McDonald’s parking lot in Tamarac, FL, on Thursday.
Video shows Krickovich and two other BSO deputies pepper-spraying a 15-year-old, throwing him to the ground, slamming his face into the pavement repeatedly and then punching him in the head.
In the incident report, Krickovich said the three deputies were outnumbered by 200-plus students, and that they felt threatened and had to act quickly.
Students from nearby J.P. Taravella High School were originally in the parking lot to watch two teens fight. Then deputies arrived and things took a turn.
One deputy was seen sitting on a teen, restraining him. That’s when the 15-year-old intervened, and deputies used force.
Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony vowed to conduct a transparent and thorough investigation, and asked for patience Friday as Internal Affairs investigates the incident.
“We will look at this as a fact-finding measure to ensure we hold folks accountable,” Tony said.
In court Friday, the teen’s family was in tears.
The teen was originally arrested on charges of aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest without violence and trespassing.
The teen's attorney argued in court that there was no probable cause for the aggravated assault charge, and the judge agreed to downgrade it to a simple assault charge.
The teen, who has no prior history with the criminal justice system, was released to his mother after the hearing.
“I think it was outrageous," said Richard Della Fera, the teen’s attorney, on the incident. "I think anybody in this community who looks at this video would say the same thing.”
Broward County Mayor Mark Bogen echoed those sentiments.
“Getting his head banged into the cement and punched is not only inappropriate, but it’s unacceptable,” Bogen said.