FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A South Florida mother is speaking out after her daughter was shoved down by a Fort Lauderdale police officer, despite the fact that the girl was kneeling on the ground at the time.
The girl's mother told Local 10 News' Roy Ramos that her daughter one had aspirations of going into law enforcement and becoming a federal agent.
But now, she says she gets uneasy at the sight of police officers.
"To have our children treated as animals with no human life regard, it breaks my heart," said Danielle Casey.
Casey believes the push set off a tense stand-off between protesters and Fort Lauderdale Police Sunday, and while it was all captured on cell phone video, it was Casey who witnessed the aggressive shove to her daughter, on her knees, with her hands in the air.
"What we are standing for, you went against," she said of the officer.
That man, three and a half year veteran of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department Steven Pohorence, has since been suspended with pay.
"That officer has been removed from any contact with the public," said Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione. "He is relieved of duty while this matter is investigated."
Casey doesn't think that is nearly enough.
"He need to be off of the force, period," she said.
Casey told Local 10 she accompanied her 19-year-old daughter to the protest, who she said has lost several classmates or peers to violence.
They wanted to be a part of sending a message to prevent incidents like this from happening in the future.
"She felt that it was a need, that her voice needed to be heard, that she needed to belong to something positive, to stand up for something that is right," Casey said of her daughter.
Also seen in the cell phone footage is a glimpse of something right, when another officer, identified as Krystal Smith, is seen pushing Pohorence away from Casey's daughter.
"She stepped out of being an officer into a human, to take action for something that was not right," Casey said.
Local 10 News obtained the personnel file for Pohorence.
In 2019, he received a live saving award.
In October of the same year, he was sent to training to improve his interactions with the public.