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Florida cop who shot Black woman in face with rubber bullet cleared of wrongdoing

LaToya Ratlieff said her “heart dropped” when she learned the officer was exonerated for shooting her.

LaToya Ratlieff AP

The Florida cop who shot a Black woman in the face with a rubber bullet during a Black Lives Matter protest last summer has been cleared of any wrongdoing for the incident.

On Friday (Feb. 26), LaToya Ratlieff expressed her disappointment after hearing that Fort Lauderdale Detective Eliezer Ramos would not face any consequences for the shooting. “It was expected,” she said. “We’ve seen this happen too many times ... when it comes to Black life.”

“If nothing else, it’s invigorating because it reaffirms why we were in the streets marching ... and why this doesn’t end today,” she added.

Last May, Ratlieff attended a George Floyd protest in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The demonstration reportedly began to turn violent and she headed towards her vehicle to go home. That’s when the rubber bullet struck her face, a half-inch above her right eye. The bullet shattered her eye socket.

According to video footage, Ratlieff was walking a few feet away from officers who were dressed in riot gear. She was seen screaming as blood gushed from her injury. According to the Sentinel, some officers could be heard saying “Get that motherfucker” and “Pop his ass” while speaking about the demonstrators.

Ramos previously claimed that he was not aiming for the woman, but instead was trying to shoot at a man behind her who was allegedly throwing tear gas canisters back at police.

On Thursday (Feb. 25), Fort Lauderdale Police Interim Police Chief Patrick Lynn announced that Ramos would be exonerated for the shooting. The officer “identified and targeted an individual who hurled a projectile at our officers with an intent to cause them harm” and it was not the officer’s “intent” to hit Ratlieff, Lynn said during the news conference.

The police chief also apologized to Ratlieff on behalf of the police department, however, she said it was “disingenuous.”

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