PLP calls for action after teenager attacked by US police

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

WITH the fallout surrounding a video showing a Florida teen of Bahamian heritage being punched and pepper-sprayed by police in that state last week now intensifying, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) called for the government to officially address the ordeal.

This comes as attorneys for 15-year-old Delucca Rolle, who The Tribune understands is a naturalised American citizen, yesterday met with the Florida State Attorney’s Office.

In a brief statement, PLP chairman Fred Mitchell yesterday referred to the ordeal as a “Bahamian citizen” being “brutalised in an interface with US policemen, by those policemen”.

Mr Mitchell in his statement suggested that as the official opposition, the PLP had carried out its own “independent checks,” and implored the Minnis administration to “give an official statement”.

According to Florida reports, Delucca was among a group of JP Taravella High School students who had gathered outside of McDonald’s last Thursday.

Officers from the Broward Sheriff’s Office responded to gathering shortly before 3pm, and an altercation ensued.

Various video recordings showed the teen at one point bending down to pick up something in the view of a deputy. The boy’s mother, who is from The Bahamas, told the Nassau Guardian her son had bent down to pick up a cell phone. She also said her son has Bahamian citizenship.

That deputy, later identified as Christopher Krickovich, appeared to take issue with Delucca’s action and sprayed the teen with pepper spray.

Subsequent to this, Mr Krickovich is seen grabbing and then slamming teen onto the concrete. The teen, while on the ground, is seen mounted by Mr Krickovich with the assistance of another deputy.

Mr Krickovich is then seen punching Delucca to the side of the face and repeatedly slamming his head into the concrete.

A bloody-face Delucca is finally seen in videos restrained by the officers.

Onlookers to the ordeal can be heard throughout the video recordings calling on the officers to show a level of restraint, with one bystander asking: “What are you doing? He’s bleeding!”

Another added: “He didn’t do anything.”

Mr Krickovich, who has been placed on leave following the incident, in his arrest report claimed Delucca took an aggressive stance toward officers and clenched his fists.

Mr Krickovich further suggested he was forced to push the teen’s head into the ground to free the teen’s right hand from under his body, according to Local10 in Florida.

The incident has garnered international attention and a tremendous amount of support from celebrities — all calling for justice in the matter.

Broward County Mayor Mark Bogen in tweet over the weekend called for Mr Krickovich to be fired outright.

NBA star LeBron James said the incident has made him concerned about the safety of his own kids.

Attempts by The Tribune to reach out to Delucca’s family yesterday were unsuccessful, with the only contact coming with representatives from the office of one of the teen’s new attorneys, Benjamin Crump.

Mr Crump, alongside fellow Florida attorney Sue Ann Robinson and Delucca’s mother and aunt, reportedly met with prosecutors from the Broward County State Attorney’s Office yesterday.

Mr Crump’s office said details related to the meeting will be made public in the coming days.

Meanwhile, when contacted for comment yesterday, Foreign Affairs Minister Darren Henfield said a statement from his ministry on the matter would be forthcoming at some point this week.