Fort Lauderdale officer charged with battery for shoving kneeling protester

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A Fort Lauderdale police officer was charged with battery Tuesday, one month after he was captured on video appearing to push over a kneeling Black Lives Matter protester who had her hands raised, multiple media outlets reported.

According to charging documents filed in Broward County Circuit Court, prosecutors allege Steven Pohorence, 29, “actually and intentionally” touched or struck the protester on May 31, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

The first-degree misdemeanor charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail, Broward State Attorney Michael Satz said in a statement.

After Pohorence, who is white, pushed the 19-year-old woman, who is Black, a second officer, who is also Black, could be seen pushing Pohorence away from the protester, NBC News reported.

The Sun-Sentinel identified the kneeling protester as Jada Servance, whose attorney says she suffered neck and shoulder injuries during the confrontation.

Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione told NBC Miami the second officer, Krystle Smith, 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 intervene, Maglione told the station.

According to NBC News, Maglione said Pohorence, who was suspended following the May 31 altercation, will be placed on administrative leave without pay. An administrative investigation will be conducted once the criminal proceedings conclude to determine if Pohorence violated departmental policies, he said.


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