Woman shot in face with rubber bullet files civil rights lawsuit against Fort Lauderdale

MIAMI – A lady who was shot in the face with a rubber bullet throughout a May 2020 Black Lives Matter demonstration is suing the town of Fort Lauderdale and its police division.

LaToya Ratlieff, 36, who was shot by a police officer, filed the civil rights lawsuit in federal courtroom on Wednesday.

Ratlieff suffered extreme accidents that required 20 stitches and suffered harm to one in every of her eyes.

She is searching for unspecified financial damages in her lawsuit against Fort Lauderdale, police detective Eliezer Ramos, who fired the rubber bullet, and 5 different officers for the accidents she suffered on May 31, 2020. She was participating in a protest that drew 1000’s over George Floyd’s videotaped slaying six days earlier by a Minneapolis police officer who knelt on his neck for eight minutes.

A bystander’s video exhibits Ratlieff was struck as she choked on tear gasoline that had been fired by officers and stumbled right into a road. She suffered a damaged proper eye socket, nerve harm to that eye and a 20-stitch gash to her brow that left a scar. Her attorneys say she additionally suffers migraines and psychological trauma.

The spherical that struck Ratlieff was made from collapsible, hole foam that’s usually crammed with a chemical irritant. According to its producer, it’s in regards to the measurement of a golf ball, weighs barely much less and has an preliminary velocity of 200 mph (320 kph). The rounds are alleged to be aimed on the legs and buttocks as they are often deadly in the event that they hit the pinnacle or chest.

“Two years ago, I came to Fort Lauderdale to raise my voice against police brutality. Today, I return to do the very same,” Ratlieff stated in a press release learn by her attorneys at a Thursday information convention exterior Fort Lauderdale police headquarters. The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday. “I have every reason to believe that if the same circumstances were repeated today, the risk of someone becoming the victims of brutality at the hands of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department are as high as they have ever been.”

A police division investigation in December cleared Ramos of wrongdoing, saying he was aiming at a person who had thrown a tear gasoline canister again at officers when Ratlieff walked into his line of fireplace. The division’s then-interim chief additionally issued an apology to Ratlieff. A division spokesman stated this week it doesn’t touch upon pending lawsuits.

The police investigation put the blame for the violence on among the protesters, saying that they had come to the town seeking to begin a confrontation with officers. Some bottles and rocks had been thrown at officers – however Ratlieff’s attorneys say that solely started after an officer pushed a kneeling girl to the bottom.

The lawsuit alleges that Fort Lauderdale police didn’t prepare its officers on learn how to use the weapons in crowd-control conditions and that state legislation bans the firing of tear gasoline or rubber bullets right into a crowd with out first giving a warning to disperse after which ample time to go away.

Stuart Ratzan, Ratlieff’s lead trial legal professional, stated the protest had been peaceable and lawful for a number of hours till police fired with out warning.

“To open fire on American citizens who are asking you to stop using violence against them – there is no excuse for that,” Ratzan stated.

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