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Women denounce Fort Lauderdale officers’ violence during protests against police brutality

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione is aware on Tuesday of the cases of women who say that during a peaceful protest against police brutality they became victims of his officers.

After Officer Steven Pohorence pushed Dannielle Casey’s daughter out of the way while she was kneeling, witnesses’ videos show Officer Krystle Smith admonished him.

Mother of girl pushed by Fort Lauderdale police officer outraged over unnecessary violence
Mother of girl pushed by Fort Lauderdale police officer outraged over unnecessary violence

Pohorence was relieved of duty pending an investigation, but the other officers are still out there. LaToya Ratleiff, who has a cracked skull on Tuesday, was at that same protest. She too had been kneeling.

“The protesters frustration stemmed from a cop kicking a girl in the back without cause,” Ratleiff said. "Several of the protesters, including myself, began asking the other protesters to relax, and we decided to kneel on the ground.”

Ratleiff said officers used tear gas and pointed guns at them. When the crowd began to get “rowdy,” she started to go to her car to go home. She was gasping for air and felt nauseous.

“An aid approached me asking if I needed any assistance,” Ratleiff said. “Then within seconds I was either shot with a rubber bullet or directly hit with a tear gas canister at close proximity, this happened as I was walking further away from the crowd with her.”

LaToya Ratleiff
LaToya Ratleiff (LaToya Ratleiff)

Ratleiff was on the ground bleeding. The aid and other protesters rescued her and took her to the hospital. She wants justice for George Floyd. And like thousands of protesters in South Florida, she wants those in power to enact new laws, implement policies and invest on training to put an end to police brutality.

“I was walking away,” she said. “I was peaceful and I was still attacked. I’m okay. My eye will heal. I was able to come home. But, George Floyd and many others did not."


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