After Sgt. Jeffrey Newman was accused of being biased, he was removed from the investigation of a cop injuring a protester.
After Fort Lauderdale Police Sgt. Jeffrey Newman made a biased comment, he will no longer be permitted to investigate a case wherein a cop shot a protestor with a rubber bullet. A few days after the death of George Floyd, civil rights activist LaToya Ratlieff was shot in the face with the less-lethal round, as a clash erupted between protesters and police.
Sun-Sentinel reported that Newman told Ratlieff that Detective Eliezer Ramos, the police officer responsible for her injuries, is actually a “good guy.”
“I’ve worked with [him] before. He’s a good guy,” Newman allegedly told Ratlieff. “I know he didn’t intentionally mean to do it. And it’s my job to investigate and to see what happened.”
Because of these comments, Newman was removed from the police department’s internal affairs office and will no longer pursue the investigation. An internal memorandum has accused him of “creating serious doubts … about his ability to investigate the matter independently.” According to the Sentinel, the comments made by Newman also revived doubts about the reliability of the department, particularly among local activists.
“LaToya was in shock when Sergeant Newman told her about his relationship with Officer Ramos and that he had seemingly predetermined the outcome of an investigation which had barely began,” Ratlieff’s attorneys, Michael Davis and Benedict Kuene, wrote in a written statement.
“Victims deserve fair and impartial investigations which prioritize justice based on the facts. The days of friends investigating friends need to come to an end. The city must pursue fundamental changes to the way it handles internal affairs investigations.”
“It definitely gives me some concern,” added Rodney Jacobs, assistant director of the city of Miami’s Civilian Investigative Panel. “One thing we definitely champion in our office is that we are unbiased; we champion layers of transparency so the community has trust in us.”
Footage released from the Black Lives Matter demonstration wherein Ratlieff sustained injuries showcases police officers laughing as they fired less lethal rounds at demonstrators. The Sentinel reported that some cops were caught saying “Get that motherfu*ker” and “Pop his ass” about demonstrators.
It was claimed by Ramos that he was not targeting Ratlieff, but was aiming at a man behind her who was accused of hurling tear gas canisters at authorities. Due to the Florida Police Officer Bill of Rights, the investigation has been on hold. The internal affairs investigations are suspended by law while Florida is in a state of emergency, which has been since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
© 2020, Jonathan P-Wright. All rights reserved.