Florida officer charged after shoving Black woman who was on her knees at protest

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A Florida police officer is being charged with battery one month after he was recorded shoving a kneeling Black Lives Matter protester to the ground.

Fort Lauderdale police officer Steven Pohorence was seen “intentionally touching or striking” the 19-year-old woman during the May 31 protest, said Broward State Attorney Mike Satz.

The video was shot during the protest against police brutality in the Minneapolis death of George Floyd.

Court records also show prosecutors charged the 29-year-old Pohorence based on the victim’s injuries detailed in her medical records. The charge is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.

“Well, given the current climate locally and nationally, I’m not surprised,” said Pohorence’s attorney Michael Dutko. “My concern, though, is for most people their knowledge of this situation and many people have strong opinions about this situation that tends to derive from a few snippets of the video.”

Pohorence is also being investigated over his use of force in two recent encounters with black men, seen on body camera video.

One video shows him force his knee onto a man’s neck.

Fort Fauderdale police chief Rick Maglione said in a statement:

“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.”

A date has not yet been scheduled for Pohorence.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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