FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A homeless man who was seen on video being slapped by a Fort Lauderdale police officer met the man who shot the viral video at a Fort Lauderdale bus stop on Wednesday.
"I just started filming," said Alex Perez. "I figured something was going to happen."
The cellphone video showed Bruce Laclair, 58, being slapped and shoved by Fort Lauderdale police Officer Victor Ramirez.
Ramirez has since been suspended with pay while his department investigates what happened.
"It makes me sick. I'm not OK with that," said Perez's girlfriend, Jessica Mooney, who was with Perez when the incident happened.
"The man has obviously a lot of anger he needs to get out," Laclair told Local 10 News. " I don't think he should be a police officer."
Laclair, who said he's been homeless for six months, said he has never had issues with law enforcement and said police have typically been friendly toward him.
"I would like to not be homeless, but I'd like to find a way to get by and enjoy my life," said Laclair.
Laclair said he has never been homeless before and said he has medical issues that landed him in a hospital and eventually on the street.
"There is a spiral that keeps sucking you down further and further, and the obstacles become greater," said Laclair.
Laclair told Local 10 News that he once enjoyed material success, owning a $600,000 home and making six figures as a developer. He said after falling on hard times, he now wants a normal life. He also said he wants this unwanted, newfound fame to change the way people view the homeless.
"We're not street urchins that we should be stepped on," said Laclair.
The couple who filmed the altercation had set up a GoFundMe page to help Laclair get back on his feet.
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