By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Correspondent
Delucca “Lucca” Rolle, the 15-year-old high school student who was punched and had his head slammed against the concrete by law enforcement officers last month, joined his attorney and several prominent civil rights activists in a peaceful demonstration in Florida to denounce police brutality.
Rolle and others chanted, “Justice will be served,” as they marched toward New Mount Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale.
Attorney and activist Ben Crump, Broward/Fort Lauderdale NAACP president Marsha Ellison, National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., Westside Gazette Publisher Bobby Henry and the late Trayvon Martin’s Mother Sybrina Fulton, were among the many to participate in the march.
“Our children’s lives matter. No one seems to understand that but us,” said Fulton, whose unarmed son, 17-year-old Trayvon, was shot and killed in Miami Gardens in 2012 by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman simply because he “looked suspicious” and was wearing a hoodie.
“So, we have to fight for our children,” Fulton said.
The NNPA was “pleased to join in with the NAACP, Black Clergy, and Florida elected officials to protest the racially-motivated and vicious police assault on Delucca Rolle in Fort Lauderdale,” said Chavis, a longtime civil rights activist and member of the famed Wilmington Ten, a group who were wrongly arrested and convicted in 1971 of various charges.
After serving nearly a decade in prison, Chavis and the group were exonerated and ultimately pardoned.
“We demand the immediate arrest and prosecution of Broward County Officers Christopher Krickovich and Greg LaCerra,” Chavis said.
Last month, Rolle, an African-American, was pepper-sprayed, punched and had his head slammed against concrete by Broward County Sheriff’s deputies Krickovich and Sgt. LaCerra, who are white.
Rolle suffered a fractured nose in the incident which occurred after the teen attempted to recover a cell phone of another teen after a fight.
The incident was caught on video and sparked a firestorm after it was shared on social media.
Sheriff Greg Tony suspended the two officers, but many, including some local elected officials, said they should face criminal prosecution.
“We will not stop until those officers are fired and charged,” Broward/Fort Lauderdale NAACP president Marsha Ellison said.
“We will remember the choices [Tony] makes when it comes to justice for Lucca,” Ellison said of the sheriff who, like the local District Attorney, is up for re-election in 2020.
Henry, whose Westside Gazette newspaper has continued to be a strong voice for the African-American community throughout Broward County, said attending the march and calling for justice for Rolle is important.
“To have an iconic Black History freedom fighter in Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., to join us in this march was like a step into time when Black people felt important, stood up for each other and weren’t going to let anyone turn us around,” Henry said.
“Say it loud, I’m Black and I’m proud, was a shot to the bodies that vibrated to the core as everyone Black, white, brown, young and older, male and female, were in unison in reaffirming our pledge to continue our fight for justice against police brutality,” he said.
Henry continued, “We will march from the streets right into the court houses. This was a wake-up call and it ain’t over yet.”