The Fort Lauderdale police officer that was captured on video pushing a kneeling protester, during protests in the city, has been suspended.
The incident happened on Sunday, during police brutality protests in a response to the killing of George Floyd.
In the video that was captured on a cellphone, the police officer, identified as Steven Pohorence shoves a 19-year-old female protester toward the pavement while she is on her knees, demonstrating.
Other officers then push him away as protesters throw items in his direction.
The protester seen in the cellphone video later tweeted about the encounter. She wrote, “Very unfair the way he treated me, especially with this being a peaceful protest.”
During a press conference earlier this week, Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione said the incident is being investigated and that the police officer has been suspended.
“That officer has been removed from any contact with the public,” said Maglione. “He is relieved from duty basically while this matter is investigated. It is going to be investigated first and foremost to see if any Florida statutes were violated. In other words, a criminal investigation is going to commence that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is going to do. It’s not unusual in a case of police use of force.”
Maglione said he doesn’t believe the officer’s actions started any type of confrontation, but he said it’s very possible that the officer’s actions escalated the situation. Protesters at the demonstration, however, say that the officer started the confrontation.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said if investigators determine Pohorence crossed the line, the city will take swift action.
“We are not afraid to do that because if there’s a wrong done, we will act quickly,” he said.
An attorney for the protester seen in the video said his client was injured as a result of Pohorence’s actions, and she is considering legal action against the officer.