No disciplinary action for Florida cop who shot protester in face with rubber bullet
A Florida law enforcement officer won’t face any disciplinary action for shooting a protester in the face with a rubber bullet last year during a demonstration against police brutality.
Interim Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Patrick Lynn said during a press conference Thursday that an internal affairs investigation exonerated Detective Eliezer Ramos for shooting LaToya Ratlieff during a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Fort Lauderdale on May 31, less than a week after George Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody.
Ratlieff told ABC affiliate WPLG in June that she needed 20 stitches after the shooting.
The internal affairs investigation determined that Ramos was not intending to strike Ratlieff but was instead aiming for a protester who was attempting to hurl a projectile at officers, Lynn said on Thursday.
Lynn did not answer any questions from reporters during the briefing, citing potential litigation, but apologized to Ratlieff.
“To Ms. Ratlieff, we have worked to gather all the facts of this case for a clear understanding of what occurred,” Lynn said. “On behalf of the men and women of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, I want to express my sincerest apology for the experience you have had with our police department.”
Ratlieff’s attorney, Michael Davis, blasted the investigation during a subsequent news conference, The Associated Press reported.
“This investigation has never been about finding out what actually happened,” Davis said. “This investigation has always been about trying to justify what happened.”
Two other Fort Lauderdale police officers — Officer Jamie Chatman and Detective Zachary Baro — were previously suspended for their conduct during the May 31 demonstration. Body camera footage released in July showed them celebrating after firing rubber bullets at protesters.
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