Fort Lauderdale, FL — A Fort Lauderdale Police officer has been suspended this week after he was captured on cellphone video shoving an innocent kneeling woman who attended to protests on Sunday. His actions also may have served as a tipping point for the entirely peaceful protests devolving into chaos.
The video shows just how delicate these situations are and also shows the power of “good” cops to stop their fellow bad cops in their tracks. Officer Steven Poherence, who assaulted the kneeling woman was quickly shoved out of the way by a fellow cop who verbally lambasted him for his senseless act of violence.
As the video shows, Poherence is yelling at protesters, getting in their faces in an apparent fit of rage. The protesters are not attacking him, but he appears to want to provoke something.
Several women protesters kneel around the officer as he yells at the crowd. Then without provocation, Poherence shoves one of the kneeling women down, who was already on her knees and posing no threat whatsoever.
Almost instantly, the good cop, who was a black woman, pushes him back to the group of officers, yelling at him the entire way as the crowd cheers in support of her. Unfortunately, her actions alone were not enough to deter the anger the crowd felt after watching the kneeling woman be shoved over and that’s when people began throwing things at officer Poherence.
“When that happened, that kind of sparked the rage in everyone,” Willie Loud, who recorded the incident on his cellphone said. “That’s when everything took a turn for the worse.”
The kneeling woman claimed she was injured during the altercation and took to Twitter to express her disappointment in the officer’s decision to escalate. “Very unfair the way he treated me, especially with this being a peaceful protest,” she said.
We agree. His decision to shove the innocent kneeling woman also had a much larger ripple effect that even the chief of police admitted “escalated” the situation.
As WSVN reports:
Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione said the incident was a result of a sequence of events that they are trying to determine the order in which they unfolded.
Maglione said he doesn’t believe the officer’s actions started any type of confrontation, but he said it’s very possible that the officer’s actions escalated the situation.
“It could have. That’s a reasonable conclusion,” he said.
The chief claimed that around the same time the kneeling woman was attacked, another officer “felt alone and called for back up. Another officer arrived to the scene and protesters jumped on her car and smashed in the windows.”
“We have to put that timeline together,” Maglione said.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has since been called in to conduct an investigation into the officer’s actions.
“That officer has been removed from any contact with the public,” said Maglione. “He is relieved from duty basically while this matter is investigated. It is going to be investigated first and foremost to see if any Florida statutes were violated. In other words, a criminal investigation is going to commence that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is going to do. It’s not unusual in a case of police use of force.”
While the chief says they need to assess the timeline, the protesters on the ground say that there is no question that officer Poherence shoving the kneeling woman was the flash point that kicked off the chaos.
“This is years and years and years of oppression that we are sitting here and fighting for,” Christine Olivo said Sunday, according to WSVN.
“We know what happened to George Floyd is a symptom of a bigger system that needs to be changed,” Asa Rogers-Shaw said.
After the kneeling woman was shoved, an hours-long stand-off ensued as protesters threw bricks, rocks, and shot fireworks at officers. In response to the rock throwing, police shot tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowds.
As TFTP reported on Monday, protests have sparked in over 140 cities across the country with many of them remaining entirely peaceful. Multiple instances were captured on video with police officers joining in with protesters and in most of those cases, no rioting or looting occurred.
As many Americans become angry at the protesters as some of them turn violent, they would do well to remember this situation. Provocation is a two way street. When people already feel oppressed and then are oppressed further while attempting to peacefully speak out against said oppression, what do you expect to happen next?