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Two Videos Expose Police Brutality in South Florida
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cell phone videos put police conduct into question

Summary: Two South Florida officers have been recorded brutalizing arrestees.

The world has changed for law enforcement. Cell phone video cameras have given them a sense of accountability never before so pervasive: any passerby can record a policeman properly or improperly doing his duty and turn it into an internet video, lacking context, that could go viral. Two South Florida law enforcement officers are under scrutiny for just this when they were recorded seemingly mistreating the people they were arresting.


Sunday afternoon Fort Lauderdale police officer Victor Ramirez was recorded arresting a 58-year-old homeless man. The video depicts the officer arguing with the man, and telling him repeatedly to “get up,” before slapping the man across the face.

“I’m not fucking around with you. Don’t fucking touch me,” Ramirez said before cuffing the man.

Because of the video, Ramirez is on paid leave while his conduct is being investigated.

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“The video is concerning,” said Fort Lauderdale police Capt. Francis Sousa. “We realize what the perception of the video [is]. However, we ask that the public be patient and allow the process to play itself out. The Broward County State Attorney’s Office is going to investigate this first, and upon completion of that, we’ll conduct our own thorough and unbiased investigation.”

On Monday, Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Johnson was recorded dragging a handcuffed woman by her leg restraints as she screamed and howled. The woman, who was mentally ill, had refused to sit on a bench as the officer instructed her to.

The officer claimed she was being “loud, disrespectful, and uncooperative,” towards the judge.

Fearing she would “cause a commotion in the public area, I then physically grabbed [her] by her leg [restraints],” the officer later explained.

The video depicts him hauling her as she screams and clasps on to a nearby sign.

“It reminded more of the Wild West when they would rope those guys and drag them from a horse by their feed – but this was actually metal shackles,” said the attorney who videotaped the incident, Bill Gelin. “When I first came out I didn’t know if this women had attacked somebody or needed to be on the ground like that, but I’m telling you, within seconds it became apparent that she was completely and totally mentally ill, and this is not how you do things in 2015.”

Since videos can readily expose an officer’s behavior to millions of viewers online, police accountability means something it never has before: an officer on duty can become an infamous celebrity at any time.



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