A video has emerged showing Florida cops firing a potentially lethal rubber bullet at a peaceful Black Lives Matter protester’s head, striking and nearly killing her.
The Fort Lauderdale Police shot Latoya Ratlieff in the head on June 3rd, fracturing her eye socket and leaving her eating only soft food for the last week while she convalesces from a potentially fatal injury. She’s a member of the Delray Beach Police Advisory board and works for a non-profit.
“I would like to understand why no warning was given before they shot rubber bullets and tear gas,” Ratlieff told Occupy Democrats. “I want the Fort Lauderdale Police Department to be held accountable. I want to know what happened that led up to me being shot in the head. What guidance did the officers receive?”
Unlike the first video of the shooting, the new video proves pretty conclusively that Latoya Ratlieff did nothing to incite the Fort Lauderdale police officers to use deadly force, nor did they give any warning that lethal or less-lethal force was about to be deployed.
Latoya Ratlieff was experiencing a tear-gas induced coughing attack before crossing the street while carrying a protest sign when police gunned her down.
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⚠️WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO⚠️
LaToya Ratlieff was peacefully demonstrating when she was shot in the head with a rubber bullet by Fort Lauderdale Police (@FLPD411) on May 31, 2020.#BlackLivesMatter #BlackLivesMatterFL #FortLauderdale #BLM #BLMProtest pic.twitter.com/i7LGZPFQJG
— Evan Ross (@MrEvanRoss) June 9, 2020
The above video was publicly posted to Facebook originally by an anonymous protester who was on the scene and wished not to be identified.
While the Mayor of Fort Lauderdale has already contacted people helping Latoya Ratlieff in order to apologize after his officers shot her, they haven’t yet spoken in the aftermath of the incident.
After the Miami Herald‘s initial, partial coverage of the incident, the Fort Lauderdale Police Department added insult to injury by putting out a call for crowdsourced videos, implying that she was misleading the public about where she got her injury.
The department’s spokesperson has also complained that their victim wasn’t giving them enough information in public statements to CNN without issuing any form of apology.
“Why, after I was shot in the head by Fort Lauderdale Police and laying on the ground bleeding, did no one from the department attempted to render aid to me?” asked Ratlieff in an interview.
“I look forward to… understanding why — after I was shot and lying on the ground — not a single officer rendered aid,” says LaToya Ratlieff, who was shot in the face with a foam bullet by the Fort Lauderdale police during a protest.https://t.co/m1XlEBlRB7 pic.twitter.com/kWvJyrGA6a
— New Day (@NewDay) June 8, 2020
Public records about the department’s “less-lethal” force policy on “resistance” dictate that officers “shall… immediately summon and render first aid” whether or not there is a visible injury.
No officers have been identified as potential suspects in the shooting. Ratlieff has retained a civil rights lawyer and considering a lawsuit against the Fort Lauderdale Police.
“When we say black lives matter, we aren’t staying they matter more than anyone else’s. We are saying they have equal value and throughout history, they haven’t been valued as equal,” concluded Ratlieff, whose great aunt is the civil rights and voting rights icon, Fannie Lou Hamer. “No one should be shot in the head while peacefully protesting.”
Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report. Find out more at grantstern.com.