Fellow officers take stand in trial of Fort Lauderdale cop who shoved BLM protester

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A Fort Lauderdale police officer charged with battery returned to court on Thursday 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 its 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.

On Thursday, the defense called two officers who were there the day of the protest: a motorman and a field officer. The motorman told jurors he arrived to help an officer in her car, surrounded by protesters, and he called Pohorence to help him.

The other officer testified that he tried to help Pohorence, who he said was also surrounded by protesters.

Defense attorneys played dispatch audio in court as they made their case that Pohorence’s actions weren’t out of line.

“I am completely surrounded. They are jumping on my car—send units,” Officer Stylianee Hayes is heard saying.

“At this point I have to get in there and put myself in a situation to help that officer that is requesting for help,” Officer Michael Burnt, an FLPD motorman, testified.

Meanwhile, Officer Ivan Peña testified that there was an officer safety concern.

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

About the Authors:

Roy Ramos joined the Local 10 News team in 2018. Roy is a South Florida native who grew up in Florida City. He attended Christopher Columbus High School, Homestead Senior High School and graduated from St. Thomas University.

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