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LaToya Ratlieff: Apology 'Disingenuous and Disheartening' After Detective Exonerated For Shooting Her In Face With Projectile During Black Lives Matter Protest

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – LaToya Ratlieff, the South Florida woman who was shot by a foam projectile in the face during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Fort Lauderdale in May of 2020, is disappointed in the decision which exonerates the officer.

One day after Detective Eliezer Ramos was cleared of any wrongdoing, Ratlieff returned to the scene where she was participating in a demonstration protesting police violence.

"I remember getting the message that he was going to be exonerated and I remember my heart dropped," said Ratlieff on Friday morning.

Thursday, Fort Lauderdale police released their internal affairs case summary and the investigation from the Use of Force expert against Detective Ramos.

The internal affairs investigation determined Det. Ramos had been aiming at another protestor who was attempting to pick up a tear gas canister that was still spewing gas. Since the officer was not aiming at Ratlieff, but a person he was justified in shooting, no department policy was violated, interim Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Patrick Lynn said.

"Detective Ramos identified and targeted an individual who had hurled a projectile at our officers with the intent to cause them harm. The internal affairs investigation has determined that it was not Detective Ramos's intent to strike Ms. Ratlieff," said Lynn.

Ratlieff suffered severe injuries that required 20 stitches and suffered damage to one of her eyes.

Ratlieff said with all the smoke from tear gas, it would be difficult for the officer to actually target someone.

"Even if you're standing in this corner it was difficult to see, so if you're standing over there and tell me you have a vantage point to which you can accurately target someone is very interesting."

Ratlieff and her attorney are calling for the release of the whole case file, not just the summary.

Ratlieff also responded to the Interim Chief's apology.

"On behalf of the men and women of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, I want to express my sincere apology for the experience you have had with our police department," said Interim Chief Lynn on Thursday.

"Interim Chief Patrick Lynn gets to give a very, very bland apology for my experience, as if I had a bad dinner at a restaurant.  It's disingenuous, it's disheartening but if nothing else it's invigorating," said Ratlieff.

Ratlieff initially planned a news conference for Friday to speak against House Bill 1. It's a plan in the legislature that would crack down on protests that turn violent or deface property.

"HB1 would criminalize the actions of law abiding citizens simply because strangers attending the same demonstration might break the law.  If HB 1 would have been the law on May 31, the organizers could have been criminally liable and even myself, as a victim, could have been criminally liable."

Michael Davis, an attorney for Ratlieff, said Thursday the police department's investigation was a sham.

"This investigation has never been about finding out what actually happened," Davis said. "This investigation has always been about trying to justify what happened."

Click here to see the internal affairs report and the independent "use of force" investigation.

While the officer who shot Ratlieff wasn't disciplined, two other officers were each suspended for a day for using obscene and vulgar language while shooting foam projectiles at the protesters.

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