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Delray Beach woman shot with rubber bullet considers civil rights lawsuit against Fort Lauderdale police

Police say they've 'made every effort' to speak to her
LaToya Ratlieff
Posted at 12:22 PM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-08 17:57:35-04

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — A Delray Beach woman, who was shot in the face with a foam rubber bullet by Fort Lauderdale police during a recent protest, said she is considering a civil rights lawsuit.

LaToya Ratlieff was taking part in protests over the death of George Floyd last Sunday when she suffered injuries to her skull and right eye.

Ratlieff said she is now nearly blind in her right eye as her swollen socket continues to heal after her encounter with members of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department.

She spoke Monday with CNN about the incident.

"I want the Fort Lauderdale Police Department to be held accountable," said Ratlieff. "I think it's important that there are some reforms that are put in place, so something like this can never happen again. I think that I would like to understand what happened, understand what message or what direction was provided to the officers before they arrived at the event. And why, not only for me, there's another image of an individual that was shot in the head. And there are also other accounts of potentially other people that were injured at the event. So, I would like to understand what guidance they received that day that cost several people to be injured at a protest that was about, you know, police brutality."

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As Ratlieff recalls, on May 31 there was a brief commotion between protesters and police. She and fellow protesters were able to deescalate the situation.

However, Ratlieff said that did not prevent the use of force by police.

"There were still bullets, random foam bullets being shot out into the crowd. We were being tear-gassed, and eventually it was too much," said Ratlieff. "That's when the crowd began to disperse, and I went in the corner. And there was a moment where a woman, she came over to help me and provide aid. And within a second, I was shot by a Fort Lauderdale police officer."

Delray Beach woman shot with rubber bullet considers civil rights lawsuit against Fort Lauderdale police

The police department has an internal affairs investigation open related to the incident.

Fort Lauderdale police spokeswoman Casey Liening said they have "made every effort to speak with Miss Ratlieff."

"Other than being notified she has retained counsel, we have not heard from Miss Ratlieff's attorneys," Liening said in a statement. "It would appear Miss Ratlieff and her counsel are speaking to the media on a regular basis, instead of us."

The statement continued, "all of the information about Miss Ratlieff's incident has been provided to the media, rather than to our city or to our investigators ... we look forward to speaking with Miss Ratlieff so that we may follow our formal investigative process of finding the truth about what happened."

Ratlieff said what she is seeking is simple.

"[I want police] to be held accountable," she said. "I think it's important that there are some reforms that are put in place so something like this can never happen again. I think that I would like to understand what happened, understand what message or what direction was provided to the officers before they arrived."

Ratlieff said she is now nearly blind in her right eye as her swollen socket continues to heal and looking forward to meeting with members of the police department.

Portions of this article courtesy of CNN Newsource