The video, which has been shared throughout social media, shows deputies take a boy down, smash his forehead into the pavement and repeatedly punch him in the head.
The encounter took place Thursday afternoon in Tamarac outside a McDonald’s at 8375 N. Pine Island Road, about a half-mile from the high school in Coral Springs. Krickovich said in a police report that three officers were outnumbered by about 200 students “who were yelling, threatening us and surrounding us, I had to act quickly, fearing I would get stuck or having a student potentially grab weapons off of my belt or vest.”
School Board member Rosalind Osgood took to Twitter on Friday morning to contact the Sheriff’s Office “to demand removal of these officers.” Broward County Mayor Mark Bogen said some form of discipline was needed. “These are deputies who are hotheads, who don’t know how to control their tempers,” Bogen said.” It was outrageous that a deputy would do this to an unarmed student who was not fighting back, who was giving no resistance.”
Bogen said the deputy who threw the student to the ground should be suspended at the very minimum and the deputy who punched the student and pushed his head into the ground should be removed.
However, one legal expert said the officers may not have done anything wrong. Fred Shenkman, a retired professor of criminal justice at the University of Florida, said it’s hard to argue police used excessive force if the teen didn’t suffer any serious injuries. The teen was taken to Coral Springs Medical Center for medical clearance before being transferred to the county’s Juvenile Assessment Center, according to a police report.
“I don’t have the full video, but even videos can be two-dimensional and not quite as powerful as some people want it to be,” Shenkman said.
Shenkman cautioned that his information is limited, based on an 18-second video and the police report, but he said deputies were likely trying to quickly control a situation and were outnumbered and in fear of being disarmed.
“This was a fight. It wasn’t a Cub Scout meeting,” he said. “Nothing jumps out to me that’s really egregious or illegal or indefensible unless there are other elements I’m not aware of.”
Sheriff’s spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright said Thursday evening that the agency had begun “investigating the incident to determine exactly what happened, how it started, how it escalated and they’re looking at the outcome of it.”