By BROOKE RUDISILL
A viral video surfaced on the Internet on Feb. 22 showcasing Ft. Lauderdale Police Officer Victor Ramirez aggressively slapping a homeless man, Bruce Laclair, in attempt to remove him from the premises in Fort Lauderdale.
In the 5 min. 11 sec. video, it shows that Ramirez starts to escort Laclair out of the bus terminal, but within 15 seconds Ramirez shoves Laclair straight to the ground making him collapse.
After Ramirez asks Laclair to stand up more than once, Ramirez gets angry and slaps Laclair straight in the face. He then proceeds to grab Laclair and put him in handcuffs.
Ramirez is currently on paid leave until the completion of an internal and criminal investigation.
Back in August 2012, Ramirez had hit a different homeless man while trying to remove him from, ironically, the same Broward County bus terminal. Vera Brown, a witness at the time, recently stated that history seems to be repeating itself for Ramirez.
Documents show that Ramirez has previously been known for having aggressive behavior toward his suspects. Broward News Times was the first publication to obtain these recent documents. It was stated that Ramirez had shoved a handful of individuals over the past nine years while working for the police department. Some of those reports were done when Ramirez was off-duty at the bus terminals.
During a press conference, Lee Feldman, City Manager of Fort Lauderdale, stated, “It is not representative of the types of actions that anybody wants our police department to be perceived as conducting.”
Ramirez has not received any discipline while working for this police department over the past nine years until now.
This video has made a tremendous amount of impact on the image of how Broward County police officers view and treat the homeless. Since the video, many statements have been released on how this type of behavior is very common.
“We have some problems about misconceptions on how we treat the homeless,” said Feldman. “Clearly there’s only one side of the story that has been told.”
During the press conference, it was stated that Ramirez has indeed attended annual training for the past nine years. Throughout the week of training, officers go over the correct use of force and how to apprehend a suspect the proper way.
The footage clearly shows the intentions that Ramirez had at the time and not once does Laclair make any moves to hurt Ramirez or escape. This is only the beginning of digging up the dirt on what type of police department Broward County truly has.