Broward County

Homeless man slapped by Fort Lauderdale cop on video sues city

Video shows Fort Lauderdale police officer slapping homeless man

A Fort Lauderdale police officer was “relieved of duty with pay” after a video surfaced on YouTube showing the officer pushing and slapping a homeless man at a Broward bus terminal.
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A Fort Lauderdale police officer was “relieved of duty with pay” after a video surfaced on YouTube showing the officer pushing and slapping a homeless man at a Broward bus terminal.

The homeless man slapped by a Fort Lauderdale cop in an incident that was caught on video and garnered national headlines has filed a lawsuit against the city and the officer.

Bruce LaClair, in his federal lawsuit filed this week, claims Officer Victor Ramirez falsely arrested him and violated his civil rights.

The lawsuit was filed 10 months after a Broward County jury acquitted Ramirez on charges of battery and filing a false police report.

It was back in February 2015 that Ramirez found LaClair napping on a bus bench at a downtown bus terminal. Ramirez had warned the man about trespassing before, and tried booting him from the property that day.

The homeless man pulled away, causing Ramirez to push him to the ground. As the officer tried to get him up, LaClair pulled away – and Ramirez struck him with a “roundhouse slap,” the suit said.

“I'll push you down to the ground, and I'll beat you up if you [expletive] try to fight me. That's what's going to happen,” Ramirez told him. He also said: “I’m not [expletive] around with you. Don’t [expletive] touch me.”

A bystander caught the slap on video, and it was posted on Youtube, soon going viral.

Because of the arrest and slap, LaClair “suffered grievously, was brought into public scandal with great humiliation, endured mental suffering and aggravation of his physical and mental condition and suffered a damaged reputation,” according to the lawsuit filed by lawyer Gary Kollin.

The lawsuit names both Fort Lauderdale and Ramirez.

After Ramirez’s acquittal, the police department determined he had violated policies, and he faced a 20-day suspension. It was unclear Wednesday if Ramirez has served the suspension.

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