The mother of a woman seen on video being shoved to the ground by a Fort Lauderdale Police officer during a weekend protest is defending her daughter and saying the suspended officer needs to lose his job.
In the video, the officer, identified as Steven Pohorence, can be seen yelling and approaching protesters, ordering them to get back. The demonstrators then surround the officer and kneel with their hands up, before Pohorence shoves a kneeling woman to the ground.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said Pohorence was suspended, and a full investigation will be conducted. Police chief Rick Maglione said Pohorence has been with the department since October 2016 and previously worked for the Florida Highway Patrol.
"There’s going to be a complete investigation. If it’s turned out that he acted inappropriately, then we will have swift discipline in response to what he did," Trantalis said.
For the family involved, that’s not enough.
"He needs to be off of the force. He needs not to deal with anyone in public," said Danielle Casey, whose 19-year-old daughter was the protester Pohorence shoved.
Maglione commended Officer Krystle Smith, who pushed Poherence away from the woman.
“She did what you are supposed to do: When you see either adrenaline or emotion or some kind of interaction going south ... that is our job to do, is intervene,” he said.
According to personnel files obtained by NBC 6, Pohorence has had over 70 reports of use of force – many involving pulling a gun, but none led to any findings that he violated department policy.
So far this year, Pohorence has been involved in over a dozen use of force incidents. The department did not identify violations of the department's policy in any of them. He has been involved in at least two crashes involving civilians, but in both of them, it was determined he was not at fault.
His department evaluations in 2019, 2018 and 2017 were all "Above satisfactory."