Fort Lauderdale

‘Disheartening': Woman Hit by Rubber Bullet Reacts to FLPD Cop Being Cleared

LaToya Ratlieff suffered eye injury after she was hit by officer's rubber bullet

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The woman who was shot with a rubber bullet fired by a Fort Lauderdale police officer at a protest last year is speaking out after the cop who fired the shot was cleared of wrongdoing by his department.

LaToya Ratlieff spoke Friday at the scene where she was hit in the eye with the rubber bullet back on May 31 during a protest held in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

On Thursday, Fort Lauderdale Interim Police Chief announced the officer who fired the shot was exonerated following an internal affairs investigation.

"This entire process is me not being able to enjoy the quality of life I had before," Ratlieff said Friday. "What happened here is with me every single day."

Witnesses said the peaceful gathering took an angry turn and protesters responded by throwing bottles. Officers began firing rubber bullets, which police refer to as foam projectiles, and Ratlieff was badly injured when she was hit in the eye by one.

Lynn said the officer was trying to hit someone who had hurled a projectile at officers, and said it wasn't his intent to hit Ratlieff. He also offered an apology to Ratlieff on behalf of the department.

"I want to express my sincerest apology for the experience you have had with our police department," he said.

Fort Lauderdale Interim Police Chief Patrick Lynn discusses the exoneration of the police officer who shot LaToya Ratlieff with a rubber bullet.

Ratlieff expressed her disappointment with the decision and the apology.

"It’s disingenuous, its disheartening, but if nothing else it's invigorating. Because it reaffirms why we were in the streets marching and it reaffirms why we are going to continue to voice our concerns," Ratlieff said.

Ratlieff's attorney, Michael Davis, said they're not willing to accept the findings of the investigation.

"There is no justification for shooting into a crowd of peaceful demonstrators without giving any warning and without giving a dispersal order," Davis said.

Ratlieff said she will continue to fight for justice and demand that all evidence from police be released.

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