Officer Shoves Protester to the Ground
Fort Lauderdale police officer, Steven Pohorence, has been suspended and is facing battery charges after he was caught on video shoving a kneeling protester to the ground. Officer Pohorence will remain on suspension while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) conducts an investigation. The battery charge is a misdemeanor.
I have no doubt that many officers will look at the video and get mad thinking, that what he did was nothing. Officers, like the rest of us, do not have the right to attack a person who is not doing anything aggressive. The Black female who was shoved to the ground was on her knees with her hands in the air. Officer Pohorence shoved her to the ground out of anger and frustration over the situation, not due to any aggression she was directing at him. He does not get a pass to abuse people just because he’s angry. The mere fact that he wears a uniform demands a higher level of accountability. Instead, his actions added to the chaos. Once protesters saw him abuse the woman they began throwing things, not sure what but nothing that looked dangerous or lethal. Regardless, it was an escalation from where the level the crowd had been at.
Shining a Spotlight on Yourself
After his actions, people started looking into Officer Pohorence and it turns out that this is not his first instance of using excessive force. The police brutality exhibited by Officer Pohorence put him in a greater position of having his history reviewed. After watching Police Chief Rick Magilone doing everything he could to excuse his officer, without coming right out and saying it, I would say Pohorence’s past abuses would have stayed hidden. But once his lack of control and professionalism was shown during a widely publisized event, he could no longer depend on his command staff covering for him. They had no choice but to show they will not accept lawlessness within their ranks.
Officers Need to Change with Our Changing Times
Rather than get all offended that officers are being held to account, law enforcement officers need to take a real hard look at themselves. If you don’t feel you can do your job without abusing citizens, then get out. The public is no longer willing to put up with the abuses and you could very well end up in jail. We all know that being in jail is harder for officers. If you are angry at your inability to be aggressive then you were never really in law enforcement to help people. You were there to take advantage of the power the job gave you and again I say, get out before it’s too late.
Qualified immunity is on the chopping block. Officers will have to learn, and use, de-escalation techniques or face criminal and civil consequences. A new breed of officer will eventually be coming in. A breed who has been trained to understand their new role in society. It will take time but it’s coming. You basically have three options; either figure out how to fit in, get out while you can, or risk going to jail for your criminal actions. It’s time for some serious reflection on your part.