MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Broward Sheriff’s Deputy seen on cellphone video slamming the head of a teenager to the ground and punching him during an arrest outside a Tamarac McDonald’s in April has been fired.
On Wednesday, Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony sat down with CBS 4’s Carey Codd and elaborated on his decision to terminate Deputy Christopher Krickovich.
“We don’t have policy that provides deputies an opportunity to slam someone’s face in to the ground,” Tony said.
Tony said there is discretion for deputies as they respond to emergency calls but they must be mindful of their actions.
WATCH: BSO Sheriff Gregory Tony’s press conference in its entirety
“We have to be measured in the level of force that we use,” he explained. “When we are applying force, is it reasonable, is it necessary and is it proportional to what we’re dealing with.
“For the set of circumstances my deputies were dealing with — obstructionist, rude, dismissive, even exhibiting signs of aggression, from a minor still doesn’t gravitate towards are we going to start slamming faces into the ground for those activities? That’s what I won’t tolerate here.”
Tony’s decision went against a recommendation from an oversight panel that reviews BSO’s Internal Affairs cases. The Professional Standards Committee recommended that Krickovich be cleared. Tony said he looked at the video and the other evidence in the case, the same evidence the PSC board had, and came to a different conclusion.
“They elected to forward a recommendation to me of exoneration,” Tony explained during a morning news conference. “That there should be no disciplinary action taken.
“I disagreed with that recommendation.”
Tony took heat for the decision from Jeff Bell, president of the BSO Deputies Association and a member of the PSC Board.
“I’m appalled in here listening to the Sheriff,” Bell told reporters after the news conference. “It was a unanimous vote for exoneration and that’s almost impossible to have that.”
Bell also criticized the Sheriff after the Tamarac incident saying BSO had put in place more aggressive training that resulted in this response. He addressed that on Wednesday.
“We have a deputy who uses justifiable use of force,” Bell said. “Force that was determined to be appropriate by his own training division.”
But Tony said that’s not true and that BSO has not changed any of their use of force policies.
“Since I’ve taken office here, we have not changed any form of use of force authorities or activities,” Tony said, adding that Bell’s comments “did nothing but inflame this community for something that is false.”
WATCH: TEEN PEPPER SPRAYED, HEAD SLAMMED INTO GROUND DURING ARREST
Krickovich and another deputy, Sgt. Gregory Lacerra, who is seen on video pepper-spraying Rolle, following him and throwing him to the ground, face criminal charges. Lacerra’s Internal Affairs case remains open. A third deputy, Ralph Mackey, was criminally charged with falsifying a report in the case but a jury acquitted him. The PSC recommended that Mackey receive a written reprimand for failing to turn on his body-worn camera during the Tamarac incident. Tony upheld that recommendation.
Krickovoch’s attorney, Jeremy Kroll, released a statement about the firing. It reads in part, “It is unprecedented for the Sheriff to unilaterally overturn an exoneration by that Board and he does so here without any information or evidence that contradicts the investigation or the conclusion that the deputy followed the training given to him by BSO. Unfortunately, we live in a world where sometimes politics outweigh intellectual honesty.”
Rolle was initially charged in the case but the charges were dropped. Attorneys Ben Crump and Sue-Ann Robinson released a statement Wednesday calling the firing of Krickovich “a significant step in the right direction.”
Tony said he wants to see changes to the Professional Standards Committee and he said he’s appointed a new director.
“Since taking command in January, I have been working to revamp BSO and reform any aspect that is not working,” Tony said in a news release. “The internal investigation and review process, which has been in place for decades, has new leadership to ensure our employees are held accountable.”
Tony also admitted that when he takes these types of disciplinary actions against deputies there is fallout.
“Any time I take disciplinary action against a deputy, it affects morale,” he said. “Make no mistake about it. It impacts morale. When we have these incidents that transpire where we have stepped outside the lines, it will impact morale for those who think it is suitable. For the majority of the good men and woman here who work in this organization, they understand that a line cannot be crossed and I have to hold them accountable when they do.”
But the bottom line is, Tony believes his decision will show the community that BSO will be transparent and strive to do the right thing.
“I want the community to understand that when these incidents take place — I don’t care if it’s a black kid, a white kid, what community they’re from, we will hold people accountable,” he said. “It’s that simple.”