Fort Lauderdale police officer Steven Pohorence, who has been suspended after video reportedly showed him pushing a 19-year-old woman who was taking a knee during a protest in the city over the weekend, had 71 use of force cases on his file, a new report shows.
Pohorence drew national controversy over the weekend after video showed him shouting at protesters before pushing the woman to the ground. As WPLG wrote, the Florida police officer has a history of using force on the job, including 51 instances in which he drew his gun in the close to four years he has spent with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department.
Some of these cases led to allegations of improper use of force on Pohorence’s part, though he was not found responsible for any of them after facing internal investigations.
“His personnel file shows an allegation of unnecessary force and false arrest was made, and in another report, a man accused Pohorence of racially profiling him during a traffic stop,” the outlet noted. “In each case, he was not found to be in violation of department policy.”
Furthermore, WPLG stated that he also received positive performance reviews, and in 2019 won a life-saving award.
As The Inquisitr reported, video of the tense interaction went viral this weekend amid a number of instances where police allegedly used excessive force or escalated to violence during largely peaceful protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Police were accused of attacking peaceful protesters in Washington, D.C., in order to clear the way for President Donald Trump to pose in front of a church with a Bible for a photo op. Others were accused of intentionally firing projectiles at journalists and detaining or arresting reporters covering the unrest.
The clip from Fort Lauderdale showed a black officer pulling the individual identified as Pohorence after he had shoved the young woman, yelling at him as he walked back behind the line of police officers. The city later announced that he had been suspended with pay, pending an investigation of the incident.
The report noted that other protesters have complained about the use of police force during the event in Fort Lauderdale, including one person who said she was struck by a projectile fired by police officers and had to receive 40 stitches.
The woman, LaToya Ratlieff, told WPLG that she had been peacefully protesting when the incident took place.
“She was pulling me away and, as I was turning, I was shot,” she said.