Victor Ramirez, the Fort Lauderdale police officer who slapped a homeless man who wanted to use a public restroom, didn't bother mentioning the slapping part in the arrest report he filed.
Ramirez arrested Bruce Laclair, a 58-year-old homeless man, on Sunday, February 22, for trespassing. The exchange between cop and man that led to the arrest was caught on video by a McDonald's-eating bystander and soon went viral. But the most shocking part of that video -- the savage smack of a homeless man who posed no physical threat to the officer -- was completely left out of Ramirez's written narrative of the incident. Luckily, we're able to compare the written report to what actually happened.
Laclair says in the video that he wanted to go use the restroom, but Ramirez insisted he leave the Broward Central Terminal immediately. After Ramirez grabs his arm, Laclair shakes him off -- and then Ramirez shoves Laclair to the ground.
While on the ground, Laclair states his desire to use the restroom -- but Ramirez wasn't having it.
"You're not going to go pee," he says. "You're not supposed to pee here."
Moments later, after a brief exchange, Ramirez reaches back and delivers a cold, hard smack across Laclair's face. The Fort Lauderdale peace officer then arrests the homeless man for trespassing and takes him to jail.
But most of what happened in the video didn't make it into Ramirez's write-up of the incident, including the part where he slapped a 58-year-old homeless man sitting on the ground. Here's what he wrote in the arrest report (all grammatical errors courtesy of Ramirez):
On 2/22/15 at 1700 hours; I was working my off duty detail at 101 NW 1st AVE when I saw the defendant later identified as Laclair sleeping on a bus bench. Because Laclair was breaking a terminal rule I asked him to wake up and to go somewhere else. Laclair looked at me and said "fuck you leave me alone." I told Laclair that he had to leave. After several minutes, Laclair got up from the bench and began to walk towards the other side of the 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.
New Times asked the Fort Lauderdale Police Department if its officers are required to report instances of physical force when dealing with the general public, but we couldn't get a straight answer.
"Every officer has their own way of filing their reports," said Detective Tracey Figone. "This case is still under investigation, and there might be files I cannot release to you because the investigation is active."
Ramirez, who has been on the FLPD for nine years, is currently on taxpayer-funded paid administrative leave pending an "investigation."
Laclair spent the night in jail and was released Monday.
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