Florida deputy reassigned after video shows him punching teen in the head

"Any time a white deputy is involved in contact with using force with a black youth, this thing blows up," the Broward County sheriff said Saturday.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
SUBSCRIBE
By Doha Madani

A Florida deputy was reassigned Friday after cellphone video showed him punching a teenage boy in the head during an arrest.

Broward County Sheriff's deputies were called to a Tamarac shopping plaza about a large group of students who were fighting, according to an arrest report from Thursday. After the teenagers were asked to leave the area, one male student was caught trespassing and arrested.

Cellphone video then shows a young man in a tank top near the arrested student get up from the ground and stand in front of one of the deputies.

The boy is then pepper-sprayed before being pushed to the ground and punched in the head, according to both the footage and the arrest report.

The teenagers who were arrested are minors and have not been named.

One was charged with trespassing while the other was charged with assaulting an officer, resisting arrest as well as trespassing.

Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.

Deputy Christopher Krickovich said in his arrest report that he saw the boy in the tank top reach for a cellphone near the student who was arrested and then take an "aggressive stance" toward another deputy.

Surrounded by students while the arrests were occurring, Krickovich claimed he feared someone might grab one of the weapons off his belt or vest after deputies pushed the boy in the tank top to the ground.

“At this point, his left arm was free and next to him, while he placed his arm under his face," Krickovich's report said. "I struck the male in the right side of his head with a closed fist as a distractionary technique to free his right hand."

Krickovich was placed on administrative assignment, meaning he must forfeit his county-issued weapons and is prohibited from entering any sheriff's facility outside of his own without the approval of internal affairs, according to a Broward County Sheriff's Office document.

Broward County Mayor Mark Bogen released a statement suggesting the deputy in the video be fired and called the incident "outrageous and unacceptable."

"After being sprayed, the teen held his face and walked away," Bogen said. "If the deputy wanted to arrest the student, he could have easily done so without throwing him to the ground."

In a video statement posted to Twitter, newly appointed Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony addressed the arrest of the students and promised transparency in the oncoming investigation.

"I’m not reading from a script to you," Tony said. "Roughly 90 days ago, I was appointed to this position exclusively about accountability. And that accountability will be held not just for the sake of when we are right, but in the cases where we may be wrong.”

Tony tweeted a video clip from a Saturday meeting with the Broward Black Elected Officials group in which he says that he heard public outcries for the deputy to be fired but that there must be an investigative process first.

"That is the most dangerous and electrifying situation for any law enforcement administrator to handle," Tony said. "Any time a white deputy is involved in contact with using force with a black youth, this thing blows up."

NBC News was unable to reach Broward Black Elected Officials for comment.

Anthony Cusumano and Suzanne Ciechalski contributed.