FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Broward Chiefs of Police Association held a news conference Friday morning to show their solidarity with those who have been protesting in South Florida following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and to announce a plan of action in preventing future cases like that from occurring in South Florida.
“We, as an association, are sorry,” Miramar Police Chief Dexter Williams said.
Williams said he spoke for all other police chiefs in Broward County by denouncing the actions of the officers involved in Floyd’s death and said they “ready and willing” to help the public protest peacefully.
“We see your anger and we feel your pain,” Williams said.
The Miramar police chief called for protesters to remain peaceful and denounced the actions of those who have looted businesses and damaged property in South Florida.
He said those actions “erode the true message of change that people want to see.”
In announcing a 5-step plan of action for law enforcement agencies, Williams said Step 1 would be eradicating bad cops in the county.
“No one hates a bad cop more than a good cop,” he said.
The Broward Chiefs of Police Association’s plan of action includes the following:
1. The eradication of bad cops from within their ranks
2. The review of their use of force policies
3. Educating officers on systemic racism, cultural sensitivity and implicit and explicit bias
4. Training and tracking the behavior of officers throughout their process in the agency with the early warning alert program
5. Building trust, transparency and accountability to the community in which they serve.
The news conference comes after both peaceful and unruly protests in South Florida.
In Fort Lauderdale, a police officer was suspended after video appeared to show him pushing a 19-year-old protester who was kneeling on the ground with her hands up.
Officer Steven Pohorence’s personnel file shows that an allegation of unnecessary force and false arrest was previously made, and in another report, a man accused Pohorence of racially profiling him during a traffic stop.
In each case, he was not found to be in violation of department policy.
Meanwhile, another woman who said she was peacefully protesting on Sunday in Fort Lauderdale told Local 10 News that she was struck by a projectile and received 20 stitches.
LaToya Ratlieff said she believes the projectile was a foam baton. A casing was found nearby on the ground.
“I have 20 stitches,” she said. “Luckily, the CT scan revealed that I have no brain damage.”
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said he personally reached out to Ratlieff to apologize and offered the city’s help with ensuring that she receives all the medical help necessary.
Williams said the police chiefs in Broward County are asking their communities for patience during this time as they work to hold bad officers accountable for their actions and to educate their officers.
“We support our citizens to be one Broward, and with that, a better Broward,” he said.