Fort Lauderdale police officer suspended after slapping homeless man

Victor Ramirez relieved of duty with pay

By Carlos Suarez - Anchor/Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - An investigation is under way after a cellphone captured an incident between a Fort Lauderdale officer and a homeless man at the Broward County bus terminal in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

In the video, a man identified as Bruce Laclair, 58, walks by the person who caught the entire incident on camera. The video shows Officer Victor Ramirez close behind. Seconds later, Ramirez shoves Laclair to the ground.

"Relax," Ramirez said. "I'm telling you right now what is going to happen -- you're not supposed to go pee here."

The two men go back and forth a few times before Ramirez is seen trying to grab Laclair's arm and slapping him.

"I'm not (expletive) around with you," Ramirez is heard saying. "Don't (expletive) touch me. Don't (expletive) touch me."

Ramirez then turns Laclair around and arrests him.

"There was a bunch of commotion," said Gerald Schorder, who said he saw the slap.

Schroder said the whole thing started after Ramirez told Laclair to leave the bus terminal. Apparently words were exchanged and Laclair said he was going to use the bathroom first.

"The guy didn't raise his hand to the officer at all," Schorder said. "The officer just knocked him down with his hands. The guy was defenseless."

There are signs posted around the bus terminal off Broward Boulevard and Andrews Avenue that warn people about loitering.

What's unclear from the video is why Laclair was told to leave in the first place in the minutes before Ramirez seemed to lose his cool.

The Fort Lauderdale Police Department said Monday night that an internal investigation has led to Ramirez being relieved of duty with pay.

Laclair was arrested on a trespassing charge. He was released from jail Monday evening.

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