A homeless man was pushed, slapped and downed by a police officer on Sunday at Broward bus station in Florida – the most dangerous state in the nation for homeless people.
A cell phone video recording of the incident was posted online and subsequently went viral, prompting outrage from across the country.
"This is a slap that is going to be heard clear across the country," the Rev. Marks Sims, canon of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Coral Springs, said on Tuesday.
Chief Frank Adderley from the Fort Lauderdale police addressed a press conference, saying the department is going to look into all the details of the incident.
The homeless man, Bruce Laclair, 58, was arrested for trespassing and resisting the arrest. However, according to a witness, Laclair was only sleeping on a bench at the bus station and even had a hospital band around his wrist.
Laclair, who's never been in trouble with the law, was upset even after his release on Monday. He said, “Most of the police officers around here are very reasonable, good people and just have a job to do. This guy, I don't know what his problem is.”
He was charged a $300 fine after he petitioned that he was not trespassing.
The five-minute video recorded a little bit of loud conversation between the officer and Laclair. After pushing him, the officer shouted, “F--- you,” followed by, “Relax, I'm telling you right now what's going to happen …You're not going to go pee. You're not supposed to be here, OK? So get up.”
Later, the cop threatened to arrest Laclair.
Chief Adderley said slapping arrestees is OK if they resist arrest.
Officer Ramirez was put on administrative leave pending an investigation.
Sean Cononie, a homeless advocate running Homeless Voice Shelter in Hollywood, denounced the incident, saying homeless people are not welcome in Broward County and that he's "outraged" by the video.