Former deputy who punched, slammed teen acquitted of battery

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A former Florida deputy was acquitted Monday of a misdemeanor battery charge related to a viral video showing a Black teen being pepper-sprayed and slammed to the ground during an arrest.

A six-member Broward County jury found Christopher Krickovich not guilty after about three hours of deliberations, the Sun Sentinel reported. If convicted, Krickovich could have faced up to one year in the county jail and a $1,000 fine.

A then-15-year-old student from J.P. Taravella High School in Coral Springs was arrested at a McDonald’s in Tamarac in 2019. Deputies had responded to a large brawl involving roughly 200 students at the area northwest of Fort Lauderdale.

Prosecutors argued that Krickovich acted illegally during the arrest, while a defense attorney told jurors that the former deputy responded appropriately to defend himself during a mob situation and that the teen suffered no injuries.

Cellphone video shows a sheriff’s sergeant pepper-sprayed the teen and threw him to the ground. Krickovich is seen jumping on the teen, twice slamming his forehead into the ground and punching him. A third deputy helps Krickovich pin the teen’s arms behind his back to be handcuffed as the video ends.

The teen was initially charged with assaulting a police officer and obstruction without violence, but those charges were later dropped.

A professional standards committee had recommended no discipline for Krickovich, but Sheriff Gregory Tony disagreed and fired the former deputy.

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