A 29-year-old Fort Lauderdale police officer is now facing a criminal charge for shoving a kneeling woman to the ground during Black Lives Matter protest on May 31, Broward State Attorney Mike Satz announced Tuesday.
Officer Steven Pohorence is being charged with battery for “intentionally touching or striking” the 19-year-old woman by “pushing [the victim] to the ground,” according to court records. Prosecutors filed the information in Broward County Court on Tuesday after an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The battery charge is a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of up to one year in jail, according to Satz. The decision to file a misdemeanor charge was made after reviewing the woman's medical records to see if her injury fell under the legal requirements for a misdemeanor or felony charge.
Pohorence’s initial appearance date in Broward County Court hasn't been scheduled yet. Videos of other incidents of use of force by the officer that have been referred to investigators by the Fort Lauderdale Police Department are still under review.
Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione issued the following statement:
The Fort Lauderdale Police Department received a press release from the Broward County State Attorney’s Office late Tuesday stating that Officer Steven Pohorence is being charged with misdemeanor battery.
As a result of their decision, the status of Officer Pohorence will be changed to administrative leave without pay.
At the conclusion of the process being led by the State Attorney’s Office, our Office of Internal Affairs will complete an administrative investigation to determine if any departmental policies were violated.
I am honored to lead the men and women of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, who remain committed to the community we serve and ask for their continued trust and support.