The Fort Lauderdale cop who was caught on video slapping a homeless man before arresting him for trespassing has been criminally charged himself.
However, unlike Bruce Laclair, who ended up jailed, officer Victor Perez has not yet been incarcerated. In fact, he is sitting at home on paid administrative leave.
But on Thursday, the Broward State Attorney’s Office filed three misdemeanor charges; two counts of battery and one count of falsifying records.
The video shows Perez shoving Laclair, causing him to fall down, then slapping him.
“I’m not fucking around with you,” Perez tells him. “Don’t fucking touch me.”
According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel:
Ramirez was placed on administrative leave when the video surfaced. He has been with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department for nine years and has no disciplinary history. He has had three prior discourtesy complaints lodged against him, but none was sustained.
Ramirez was working a Sunday off-duty security detail at Broward County Transit’s Downtown Bus Terminal when he encountered Bruce Laclair sleeping on a bench at about 5 p.m.
In his report about the encounter, Ramirez wrote that he struck Laclair, 58, after he fell to “distract [him] and keep him from grabbing me.”
Ramirez said that when he awoke Laclair and asked him to leave, Laclair swore at him. While escorting Laclair out of the terminal, Laclair “pulled away from [me] in a violent manner. I reacted by pushing Laclair away from me to keep him from attacking me,” Ramirez wrote.
It is not surprising he has three prior discourtesy complaints against him, but those incidents were probably not caught on camera, which is why he had the confidence he would get away with this one, not realizing he was being recorded.
Laclair was asking to use the rest room as he was being escorted out, which angered Ramirez.
It is likely that the state attorney’s office reviewed surveillance video before making its decision, ensuring that Laclair never did try to fight Perez, but that has not been released.