Fort Lauderdale

‘He Beat Me': Man in Video With Fort Lauderdale Officer Accused of Shoving Protester Speaks

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A South Florida man who says he was roughed up by a Fort Lauderdale police officer accused of shoving a protester last month is speaking out about what happened to him.

Officer Steven Pohorence was placed on administrative leave for pushing a woman at a recent protest.

On Tuesday, Fort Lauderdale Police released multiple videos of previous uses of force involving Pohorence, including an encounter with Gerald Rice Jr. in September.

Police had been called after Rice went onto his mother's property without her permission, and Pohorence was one of the officers who responded.

A police report said Pohorence took Rice to the ground when he was making threats and wouldn’t comply with the officer’s commands to put his hand behind his back.

"Cops are supposed to protect and serve and he was doing the opposite of that," Rice told NBC 6.

Rice was arrested for resisting arrest but said that none of it had to happen. He said Pohorence was overly aggressive.

"He beat me. He put his knee in my neck. He loved to put his knee in your neck like right here," Rice said. "He constantly — I had long hair at the time — I had to cut my hair because he pulled some of it out by him yanking. So, he’s bashing my head against the ground repeatedly with his knee in my neck."

Pohorence was placed on administrative leave several weeks ago when video showed him shoving a woman who was on her knees at a protest.

The video where Pohorence was seen with Rice was shown to the Fort Lauderdale Police Chief, along with one showing how he took another person into custody in April. Both videos were brought to light a few days ago by Broward attorney Christina Currie when she made a public records request.

“I would like body cam and if he have body cam for his colleagues,” Currie said.

Currie chairs the citizen panel that reviews police complaints in Fort Lauderdale but was not acting in that capacity when she made the request for the body cameras involving Pohorence.

"I end up getting notified that there were some things in there that the person who was compiling my request found concerning. She reported that to the Chief and that led us to where we are today,” Currie said.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is now investigating Pohorence's actions and he is being paid while this goes on.

"Officer Pohorence is entitled to his due process. Which every civilian is entitled to also. We are asking that people refrain from a rush to judgement based on a small piece of video or political views or biases," the Fort Lauderdale Fraternal Order of Police said in a statement.

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