A police officer has been captured on video violently banging a black teenager’s head on the ground before punching him repeatedly on the head, prompting an investigation and the launch of the hashtag #JusticeForLucca.
Florida sheriff’s office launched an investigation into allegations of police brutality after phone footage shows the deputies pepper-spray a 15-year-old high schooler called Lucca before pushing him roughly to the ground.
According to BuzzFeed News, Krikovich said he and Sergeant Greg Lacerra had been assigned to the area outside a McDonald’s in Tamarac, Florida, after a fight broke out the previous day.
Broward County sheriff’s deputy, Christopher Krickovich wrote in an incident report that he had been in fear for his safety.
According to Krickovich, they had initially arrested a teenager who had not been allowed in the area following the fight. After he put the teenager to the ground, his mobile phone dropped out of his pocket.
Lucca reached to pick it up, and it is at this point Krickovich pushes him to the ground, after Lacerra reportedly pepper-sprayed him.
In the video, Lucca is seen trying to cover his face as Krickovich bangs his head repeatedly to the ground, before hitting him with a closed fist twice on his head.
The clip has been shared widely online as a grim example of police brutality.
The police officer alleges that he acted out of “fear” as a “large group of students who were yelling, threatening us and surrounding us”.
I had to act quickly, fearing I would get struck or having a student potentially grab weapons off my belt.
The teen was eventually arrested and charged for assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest, prompting #JusticeForLucca. According to Lucca's aunt who launched a GoFundMe campaign to help with legal costs, Lucca's nose was "fractured".
She said: "My nephew, Lucca, who is 15 years old; was pepper sprayed, thrown against the floor, his head was repeatedly smashed against the pavement fracturing his nose".
He was wrongfully charged with assault, and we are trying to get the charges dropped! His mother gave me permission to make this, I’m Lucca’s aunt. The funds will be used for attorney fees, and other things needed to help get the charges dropped. He’s recovering & he also has an upcoming court date. Thanks for all of your love and support. We appreciate every single donation, big or small and we are happy that we are not alone in our fight during this hard time
The video is receiving widespread condemnation online
People are calling on the 'racist' police officers to be fired.
The NAACP widely condemned the violence
Basketball players LeBron James and coach Steve Kerr expressed their shock at the video
Others are pointing out that police brutality against black people in America is, sadly, commonplace
America has a history of police brutality, misconduct and shootings, with the victims being overwhelmingly black citizens.
Several studies into police brutality, such as this analysis of the available FBI data by Dara Lind for Vox found that “US police kill black people at disproportionate rates: Black people accounted for 31 percent of police killing victims in 2012, even though they made up just 13 percent of the US population”.
And people said that the teenager didn't do anything wrong in the video
#JusticeForLucca is trending online
A petition has launched on change.org to get the two police officers involved fired. It has collected 42,318 out of 50,000 signatures as of the writing of this article.