FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — An internal affairs investigator at a Florida police department has been removed from his post after showing bias in favor of an officer who shot a woman with a rubber bullet during a demonstration, officials said.
Fort Lauderdale Police Sgt. Jeffrey Newman was removed from the department’s Office of Internal Affairs for creating serious doubt on his ability to independently investigate the shooting of civil rights protester LaToya Ratlieff, according to an Aug. 12 internal department memo cited Friday in media reports.
Ratlieff said Newman told her that he had previously worked with the officer who shot her in the face. She said Newman told her the officer was a good guy and didn’t hurt her intentionally, according to reports.
LaToya Ratlieff said in a statement that she was shocked when Newman essentially told her he had predetermined the outcome of the investigation before interviewing a single witness.
“We need systems in place in every police department which ensure unbiased investigations which follow the facts and pursue justice,” Ratlieff said. “Despite this issue, I do still plan to participate in the investigation once the city resumes it.”
Ratlieff, 34, was shot in the face with a rubber bullet May 31 while protesting police violence. She was participating in a Black Lives Matters demonstration in downtown Fort Lauderdale that became a confrontation between police and protesters. Ratlieff suffered severe injuries that required 20 stitches and damaged one of her eyes.