A Fort Lauderdale, Florida, cop was put on paid administrative leave after knocking down and slapping a homeless man at a bus station, an incident caught on a cell phone video and uploaded to social media.
Officer Victor Ramirez could be subject to criminal charges in addition to a review by police internal affairs, city officials noted as a result of Sunday's incident. The nine-year police veteran has a clean record, Police Chief Frank Adderley said in press conference, describing the incident as a very serious matter that needs an immediate response. City Manager Lee Feldman deemed the video made by a bystander "clearly disturbing."
In the incident, the officer attempted to arrest the man -- who was allegedly sleeping on a bench -- for trespassing at the downtown Fort Lauderdale bus depot, prompting the confrontation.
In his arrest report, which apparently does not mention a slap being part of the encounter, Officer Ramirez who was working an off-duty detail indicated that Bruce Laclair, 58, was uncooperative when ordered to leave the Broward Central Bus Terminal.
"I gave Laclair plenty of time to leave; I made it clear to Laclair that he had to leave and that he would be arrested if he didn't. After ignoring me, I grabbed Laclair and arrested him for trespassing after warning."The footage depicts the officer grabbing the homeless man's arm at which point he appears to pull away. That's when Laclair was knocked to the ground and shouted "f**k you" at the cop. In the footage, the officer can be then heard telling the man "I'm escorting you out right now. You are not going to go pee; you are not supposed to be here." Laclair appeared to be unwilling to get up off the ground. At that point, the officer slaps the man across the face and says "I'm not f****g around with you. Don't f****g touch me. Put your hands behind your back."
Laclair told CBS Miami that he was sitting on a bench and simply wanted to go to the bathroom when they began to argue.
"Most of the police force here and the Broward Sheriff's are just awesome. They're great people, they're doing the right thing, and they are very generous too–-especially to homeless people. And this gentleman was clearly out of line."Fort Lauderdale recently passed a controversial ordinance that restricts feeding the homeless outside of designated areas.
[image via YouTube]