FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida police officer who shot a woman in the face with a rubber bullet during a demonstration against police violence won’t face disciplinary action, officials announced Thursday.
Interim Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Patrick Lynn announced the results of an internal investigation during a news conference and did not take questions.
LaToya Ratlieff was shot in the face with a rubber bullet last May 31 while protesting police violence. She was participating in a Black Lives Matters demonstration in downtown Fort Lauderdale that became a confrontation between police and protesters. Ratlieff suffered severe injuries that required 20 stitches and suffered damage to one of her eyes.
An internal affairs investigation determined that the officer who shot Ratlieff 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, Lynn said.
Michael Davis, an attorney for Ratlieff, said during a news conference that 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.”
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 rubber bullets at the protesters.