Fort Lauderdale

Protester Struck by Officer's Rubber Bullet During Fort Lauderdale Protest Speaks Out

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Fort Lauderdale police shot a woman with a foam rubber bullet at a demonstration on Sunday in Fort Lauderdale, where protesters were gathered to express their anger at the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota last week.

LaYoya Ratlieff told the Miami Herald that she was brought to her knees when an officer, who was in a police line, fired the bullet.

“They were in this protective gear and just prepared for battle,” Ratlieff told the Herald. “I fell to the ground, but it wasn’t until people started to lift me up and I saw that there were pools of blood on the ground and people were saying, 'She’s been shot, she’s been shot.'"

In a statement Thursday, Fort Lauderdale police said they had been unable to reach Ratlieff for a statement:

"The Fort Lauderdale Police Department has made repeated attempts to reach LaToya Ratlieff to include phone calls and social media messages. While we continue exhausting all methods of contacting Ms. Ratlieff, as of 5:00 p.m. today we have been unsuccessful in reaching her. Ms. Ratlieff’s statement is a critical part of our internal investigation into the incident."

The department also asked the public to send in videos from Sunday's protest so they could "review the event including actions by (its) officers." Videos can be submitted here.

A video provided to NBC 6 by the newspaper shows Ratlieff being helped by other protestors and led into a car. Ratlieff said the group took her to a nearby hospital, but that the officers did not try to help her.

“The police saw me on that ground bleeding, and at what point are the officers is no one going to come from that line and make sure that I was okay," she told the Miami Herald. "So civilians have to risk themselves, because if they're just shooting rubber bullets, they can get hit as well."

NBC 6 was not able to reach Ratlieff Wednesday for comment.

Another Fort Lauderdale police officer was suspended Sunday for pushing a kneeling protester. Records show that the officer, 29-year-old Steven Pohorence, has been under review numerous times for pointing guns and using force on suspects, and at least once for racial profiling.

The mother of a young woman who was shoved by a Fort Lauderdale police officer spoke out, calling for his termination. The incident sparked some chaotic moments during a protest Sunday. NBC 6's Steve Litz reports.
AP and NBC 6
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