A video that captured a Fort Lauderdale police officer slapping a homeless man went viral which resulted in a lawsuit being filed against the city of Fort Lauderdale. The incident came about when Bruce LeClair was resting on a bench at the central bus station in downtown Fort Lauderdale when officer Victor Ramirez put his foot on him to wake him up. Ramirez attempted to usher him off the property and LeClair stated that he needed to use the restroom. Ramirez refused his request and that’s when things got heated. The officer can be heard in the viral video telling LeClair that he was going to “beat him up” and even used other vulgar words to convey his message” [Source: ABC Local 10 News].
Ramirez is then seen throwing LeClair to the ground and then slapped him directly across the face. LeClair never once became combative nor was he seen refusing officer commands. So, why did officer Ramirez take advantage of his power and physically harm this homeless man who was minding his own business?
Unfortunately, police officers all over the country engage in similar behavior simply because they can. And while Ramirez thought that he would just get away with it and continue on, he was right about one thing. Although his actions didn’t lead to termination from the department, his actions did cause him to face certain consequences. LeClair decided to hire a Fort Lauderdale police brutality lawyer to represent him who helped him file charges against the officer. While Ramirez was acquitted of misdemeanor battery and falsifying records in criminal court, the city did pay a settlement of $50,000 to resolve the case.
While LeClair’s attorney wanted to take the case further by going to trial, once LeClair learned that the city had offered the $50,000, he opted to take it. The entire case was rather emotional for LeClair and he felt a great deal of pressure on his shoulders which is why he decided to accept the settlement and move forward. He plans to use the money to move out of state with his longtime girlfriend and even wants to start a college fund for his grandson.
While Ramirez got off the hook rather easy, he did have to serve a 20-day suspension period where he was unable to go to work. Whether this time off was with pay, that information wasn’t disclosed, however, he is back out on the streets patrolling. Hopefully, this case serves as a lesson to officers of the law that just because you have the right to apply force doesn’t mean that you can whenever you feel like it. There are certain policies and procedures that must be followed and clearly, Ramirez disregarded all of those when he pushed Mr. LeClair to the ground and slapped him.
This case also serves as a reminder to those who may have been physically or verbally abused by an officer that legal action can be taken to combat against police brutality. If you are the victim of police misconduct, don’t hesitate to contact USAttornes.com today so we can help you locate a nearby police brutality attorney in Fort Lauderdale. Remember, you have rights and those rights should never be violated, not even by an officer of the law.