A South Florida deputy who had faced a misdemeanor battery charge for allegedly pepper-spraying a teen last year has been cleared.
According to reports from The South Florida Sun Sentinel and WFOR-TV, a judge has determined that Sgt. Greg LaCerra was standing his ground during the April 2019, which occurred in front of about 200 students at a McDonald’s in Tamarac.
In making the decision, Judge Jill Levy explained that video evidence showed that the teen, Delucca Rolle, was about to attack the sergeant.
Although Levy decided to drop the charge against LaCerra, Deputy Christopher Krickovich still faces a battery charge for slamming the then-15-year-old’s head to the ground repeatedly.
Videos from the incident show Rolle picking up his friend’s cell phone, as LaCerra was trying to arrest the other teen.
— South Florida Sun Sentinel (@SunSentinel) October 16, 2020
That’s when the officer can be seen pushing Rolle away, and then using pepper spray on him, just before Krickovich got involved.
In her ruling, Levy wrote, “Utilizing pepper spray to [defuse] the situation and pushing Delucca on the ground to arrest him was a justified response to Delucca’s apparent threat of imminent harm.”
Krickovich was fired from the sheriff’s office last year, while LaCerra remained on the job during the investigation.
Prosecutors plan to file an appeal.