FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – He may not have been in court Wednesday, but the charging documents are in against Fort Lauderdale police officer Steven Pohorence, who was charged with battery a month after pushing a female protester who was on her knees.
The victim’s mother, Danielle Casey, reacted to the first-degree misdemeanor charge in a statement, saying: “We are happy to see that justice is beginning to be served but a misdemeanor charge feels light. Like he is getting off easier than he should.”
The incident caught on video May 31 landed Pohorence, 29, on administrative leave — and now without pay after Broward State Attorney Mike Satz announced the battery charge on Tuesday.
Court records show the decision to charge Pohorence with the misdemeanor was based in part on the victim’s injuries, which were detailed in her medical records.
If convicted, Pohorence could face up to one year in jail. Pohorence’s attorney plans to fight the charge.
“Given the current climate, locally and nationally, I’m not surprised,” Michael Dutko said. “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.”
In recent weeks, Pohorence’s actions on prior calls have been called into question.
Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Magilone reviewed the officer’s body-worn camera footage, particularly incidents involving two Black men on separate occasions. Those tapes have since been handed to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate possible excessive force.
An internal affairs investigation is planned after that major decision, to determine Pohorence’s future with the department.
He has worked for the Fort Lauderdale PD since October 2016 after spending almost four years with the Florida Highway Patrol.