A police officer in Fort Lauderdale was suspended after a YouTube video showed him slapping a homeless man.
The Fort Lauderdale Police Department launched an internal investigation following the emergence of the video. Police Officer Victor Ramirez has now been suspended with pay and may face criminal charges.
The incident occurred lace at the Broward Central Bus Terminal in downtown Fort Lauderdale where Ramirez went to arrest Bruce Laclair, 58, possibly for loitering. In the video, the officer is seen escorting Laclair out of a bus terminal when Laclair seems to resist. The officer then pushes him to the ground.
Laclair can be heard swearing at the police officer, who responds with, “Relax. I am going to tell you what is going to happen right now. I am going to escort you out right now.”
Advocates for the homeless are speaking out about the incident, stating that situations like this one are becoming more and more commonplace.
Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP) are campaigning for a bill called ‘Right to Rest’ in several states, putting an end to laws targeting people who sit, eat, sleep, or stand in public places. The bill has been introduced in Oregon and Colorado, and organizers are looking for a sponsor in California.