FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - The woman who was injured by a rubber bullet during protests in Fort Lauderdale is speaking out after new video captured the events leading up to the incident.
Latoya Ratlieff said the impact from the rubber bullet fractured her skull and left her with 20 stitches above her right eye. She said the moments after she was struck are very blurry.
“I didn’t realize I’d been shot,” she said. “I saw the blood and people scrambling to get me to a car and to the hospital as soon as possible.”
Ratlieff was one of hundreds of people who protested the death of George Floyd in downtown Fort Lauderdale on May 31. She remembers the protest beginning peacefully but things escalated.
At one point, a police officer appeared to push a kneeling woman to the ground. Shortly after, officers began firing tear gas into the crowd.
“From there, things happened very quickly,” Ratlieff said. “There was a woman that offered me assistance. She came around to help me off the curb, and within a second, I hit the ground. I’m still trying to just focus on my recovery, but I don’t know what my life is going to be day to day after this.”
It may have been an accident that Ratlieff was struck. Another video posted on Twitter appears to show a man behind her throw a smoking canister towards police. Seconds later, she is hit.
“We have to be very careful about trying to create a justification for what is otherwise not justified,” Michael Davis, her attorney, said. “She was an innocent person who was at a peaceful demonstration, and she was shot.”
George Floyd’s death and the protesting that has followed has brought about change to police work, and Ratlieff said what happened to her can continue the movement.
“It’s important for me to use my voice to sit down with the police department and see what do they want to do to ensure that this doesn’t happen, not even to just someone who looks like me but should never happen to anyone at all,” she said.
Ratlieff and her attorney have reached out to city officials from Fort Lauderdale, and they are waiting to hear back.
She also said there is a fake GoFundMe account posted on the site and she is not trying to raise money.
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