FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — A newly released Fort Lauderdale Police report tells the story of a confrontation between a veteran police officer and a homeless man at a city bus terminal last month that ended in the homeless man being slapped in the face.
The report, written by Officer Victor Ramirez, who was working an off-duty detail at the time, wrote that he thought the homeless man, Bruce Laclair, was going to attack him and that’s why he got physical with him.
The incident began, Ramirez wrote, when Ramirez tried to escort Laclair from a bus bench because the officer said Laclair was sleeping, violating a terminal rule. Seconds later Ramirez is seen pushing Laclair to the ground.
In his report, Ramirez wrote that “Laclair pulled away from me in a violent manner. I reacted by pushing Laclair away from me to keep him from attacking me.”
Next came the confrontation on the ground. Laclair says he told the officer he wanted to go the bathroom.
“You’re not gonna go pee,” the officer is heard saying on the video. “You’re gonna get up. I’ll push you to the ground and I’ll beat you up if you (expletive) try to fight me.”
Then came the slap and the arrest of Laclair for trespassing.
In his report describing what happened, Ramirez wrote, “I warned Laclair that I would hit him if he tried to grab me. When I grabbed Laclair by the arm to help him off the ground; Laclair tried to grab my wrist. This time I responded to Laclair’s actions by striking him on the side of his face; I hit him one time with an open hand.
“My intent was to distract Laclair and keep him from grabbing me.”
Ramirez also wrote in his report that Laclair was drunk and was very difficult to deal with.
Laclair told CBS4 News a different. He said Officer Ramirez was the aggressor.
“This gentleman was clearly out of line,” Laclair said in an interview last week.
CBS4 News asked to speak with the Fort Lauderdale Police Chief about Officer Ramirez’s report and the officer’s side of this story but we were told the chief would not make any comments.
A Fort Lauderdale Police Spokesperson said the case remains an internal affairs investigation and that Officer Ramirez remains on administrative leave with pay. We’re told the investigation could lead to criminal charges against Officer Ramirez.