Victor Ramirez, the Fort Lauderdale cop who was on video caught smacking a homeless man, has been slapped with three misdemeanor charges by the Broward State Attorney's Office. One of the charges includes falsifying reports. New Times reported last month that Ramirez had omitted the part where he slapped the man when he filed his report,
On February 22, a bystander using a cell-phone video caught Ramirez arresting 58-year-old Bruce Laclair, who is homeless. Laclair was charged with trespassing. But the video shows Ramirez grabbing Laclair's arm, then pushing him to the ground when the man tries to pull away.
The video also shows Laclair and Ramirez exchanging words and the man cursing the cop out. When he tells Ramirez he needs to use the restroom, the officer responds by saying, "You're not going to go pee. You're not supposed to pee here," before rearing back and smacking Laclair across the face.
The video, which was posted on YouTube and Facebook, went viral within hours, which led to an investigation by Fort Lauderdale Police. Ramirez was then placed on paid administrative leave.
Yet, according to our report, most of what actually happened and was captured in the video was omitted from Ramiriez's report. Gone was the narrative that things turned violent. Instead, Ramirez's report painted a picture of a man who refused to comply and then was arrested without incident. The only part that did make it to the report was when Laclair told Ramirez, "Fuck you."
"Every officer has their own way of filing their reports," Detective Tracey Figone told New Times at the time, when asked if officers are required to include any incidents of violence during arrests.
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Another New Times report showed that Ramirez has had a history of using physical force at the bus terminal he was assigned to and where the slapping incident went down.
According to an 87-page internal affairs file document, Ramirez has been involved in almost 40 incidents at the terminal. Most of those involved his using physical force and even tasering people a few times while working off-duty. There have been at least ten documented incidents in which physical force was used, with only two of those happening outside the Broward Central Terminal.
When news of the slap broke, Fort Lauderdale homeless activists The FLPD: Stop the Brutality organized a protest calling for Ramirez to be fired. Protesters showed up at the Fort Lauderdale Police Department with signs and images taken from the video. They also brought a letter addressed to the city calling for Ramirez to be fired. Ramirez has maintained that his slapping of Laclair was necessary and legitimate.
Ramirez has been charged with two counts of battery and one count of falsifying reports.