The Bahamian boy living in Florida took the stand on Friday to defend his position after a video circulated last year showing Broward County officers punching and hitting his head on the ground.
The officers, Deputies Gregory Lacerra and Christopher Krickovich asked a judge on Friday, to dismiss the charges, citing Florida’s “Stand-your-ground” law.
Delucca Rolle, the 15-years-old at the time, described the incident which took place April 2019, after he was pepper-sprayed by the officers.
“I don’t know what I was thinking. I just thought, ‘My eyes are burning.’ That’s all I had my mind on,” he said.
“I told him I was sorry for using foul language and I told him, ‘Don’t (expletive) touch me,’” Delucca told the court.
Prosecutors in the case said officers used excessive force. Prosecutor Justin McCormack said, “You’re going to be able to see Delucca Rolle outside of the plaza, on the sidewalk by the street, by himself, not part of any fray or any group.”
But the officers’ attorney said the officers were acting in self-defense amidst the chaos.
“There was terror and mayhem at the Tamarac Town Square Plaza,” said Attorney Eric Schwartzreich. “The evidence is going to show that Delucca Rolle committed an assault.”
Attorney Schwartzeich also highlighted the inconsistencies in Delucca’s testimonies saying that he lied in his initial testimony of standing next to the fight, to which Delucca admitted.
What exactly happened on the day of the incident?
Hundreds of teens gathered near a McDonald’s in Tamarac, Florida for a fight between two girls, after school was dismissed.
Delucca waited on a curb for his mother to pick him up. But as Delucca’s friend was being handcuffed by officers, Delucca ran for his friend’s cellphone. He was then pepper-sprayed and pushed to the ground.
Cell phones captured the incident and the video went viral.
Delucca, now an 11th grader, was arrested but charges were later dropped. Officer Krickkovich was fired and LaCerra was placed on restricted leave.
What was the reaction in the Bahamas?
Opposition members called on Foreign Affairs Minister Darren Henfield to address the incident. PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell said the government should have intervened in the matter.
Mitchell said, “Sucking up to the United States does not change anything.
“What you have to do is lookout for the interest of your citizens and the U.S. understands that very well, and don’t care whether or not we issue advisories for our residents.”
Has Delucca faced other arrests?
Yes, since the incident, Delucca has been arrested two other times.
Delucca was arrested in August 2019 after neighbours saw two teenagers walking through a neighbourhood at 3 a.m. The arresting officer said neither of the teens lived nearby and none could give an account for what they were doing in the neighbourhood.
The teenagers faced loitering and prowling charges.
Delucca was again arrested in June of that year, after being found in a stolen car and resisting an officer without violence.
The case involving the rough arrest resumes on Monday.
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