(TAMARAC, Fla.) -- A deputy sheriff was fired after being seen on cell phone video allegedly slamming a teenage boy's face on the pavement.
Broward County, Florida, Sheriff Gregory Tony announced Wednesday that Christopher Krickovich was terminated for excessive force despite the state's Professional Standards/Human Rights Committee's (PSHRC) recommendation to exonerate him of any wrongdoing for the April 18 incident.
"When my deputies do the right thing, I will always support them and have their back. But I will not stand idly by while anyone violates his or her sworn duty to protect," said Tony in a press release. "Even a singular incident of excessive force by one of our deputies creates distrust between the community and our organization, and that is something I will not allow."
Krickovich was seen on camera allegedly pepper-spraying and slamming a 15-year-old student's face onto the ground outside of a McDonald's in Tamarac, Florida, during an arrest. Officer Gregory LaCerra was also present and allegedly involved in the violent arrest.
Afterwards, prosecutors claimed, the two officers filed false charges against the teen in order to cover up the attack.
After the video was posted on social media, the pair was variously charged in July 2019 with misdemeanor crimes including battery, falsifying records and conspiracy to falsify records, prosecutors said. A third officer was also charged in the attack but was found not guilty after a jury trial in September 2019 for one count of falsifying records.
Krickovich and LaCerra both have entered not guilty pleas and their criminal cases are ongoing.
Jeff Bell, president of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association, previously told the Associated Press that the Tamarac area is a hot spot for after school incidents with students threatening and harassing the mostly elderly clientele. Bell did not immediately respond to a request for comment from ABC News.
Pending Tony's investigation -- that included results from PSHRC which "investigates employment, housing and public accommodations discrimination, ethics, Wage Recovery, Living Wage, and Cone of Silence violations," according to their website -- Krickovich and LaCerra were suspended without pay.
"Like most people who watched the video evidence, I was disgusted by the obvious abuse of authority, but it is important for us to follow due process," said the sheriff, who made his decision after an internal affairs investigation.
Sue-Ann Robinson, one of the civil attorneys representing the teenager and his family, held a press conference to explain that Krickovich's termination is not a "win" -- "but it's definitely a step in the right direction," she said.
"As a society we cannot allow abuse on our most vulnerable. The separation of one of the officers from the Sheriff’s Office for slamming [a 15-year-old's] head into the ground and filing false charges to cover it up -- is a step in the right direction," wrote Robinson on her Instagram account Thursday to accompany a clip of the press conference.
Tony was appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in January 2019 to an acting role as the head of the department after the former sheriff, Scott Israel, was fired from the post, accused of mishandling the department's response to the February 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Once Tony was in his position, he launched further investigations into the Parkland shooting, firing two more deputies in June 2019 for failing to respond to the scene and stop the alleged gunman.
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