Trial begins for Fort Lauderdale cop who shoved BLM protestor

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A Fort Lauderdale police officer charged with battery returned to court on Wednesday after he was caught on camera shoving a Black Lives Matter protester in 2020.

The video shows Officer Steven Pohorence shoving a woman during the time when what had been a peaceful protest in Fort Lauderdale against racial inequality in the wake of George Floyd’s murder turned contentious outside a parking garage at Southeast Second Street and Southeast First Avenue near the Broward County Main Library.

On Wednesday, the state called their final two witnesses, a special agent from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement who investigated the case and William Loud, the man who took the cell phone video that sparked the investigation in the first place.

Loud was asked by state prosecutors, “Did you bring a sign with you that day?”

“Yes,” said Loud.

“What did it say?” asked the prosecutor.

‘Stop killing us,” he said.

When asked what actions the protestors took that day, Loud inferred that they didn’t cause any harm.

“We all just stood there with our signs up, kneeled down and then headed back towards the park,” he said.

Loud later confessed as police tried to break up the protest, Poherence shoved the woman “with both of his hands.”

The defense began to call witnesses starting with the officers who were working the protest that day.

Sgt. Nicole Graves, of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, said that things started to take a turn late in the afternoon.

“I was traveling north and protestors started throwing at my vehicle,” she said.

Pohorence’s defense team told the judge that he was coming to help that day when officer Stylianee Hayes, of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, was stuck in her unmarked car.

“They surrounded my vehicle, banging my windows and jumping on the trunk of my car,” said Hayes. “I was scared. I was completely surrounded.”

The defense will continue bringing witnesses into court on Thursday at 1 p.m.

Poherence is being charged with misdemeanor battery where if guilty, he faces up to one year in prison.

About the Authors:

Ian Margol joined the Local 10 News team in July 2016 as a general assignment reporter. Born in Miami Beach and raised in Broward County, Ian is thrilled to be back home in South Florida.

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.