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Florida officer accused of pushing over kneeling protester charged


A Florida police officer who was filmed pushing over a protester who was already kneeling is facing criminal charges.

Fort Lauderdale Police Department’s Steven Pohorence was charged Tuesday with misdemeanor battery for “intentionally touching or striking” the 19-year-old woman, the Broward State Attorney’s Office announced. The charge carries a maximum sentence of up to one year in jail.

“The decision to file a misdemeanor charge was made after reviewing the victim’s medical records to see if her injury fell under the legal requirements for a misdemeanor or felony charge,” State Attorney Michael Satz said in a release.

Poherence was working at a rally on May 31 with other officers when he was filmed shoving a woman, later identified as Jada Servance, to the ground. She was kneeling and had both hands in the air during the confrontation.

Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione, at a press conference in June, said Pohorence had entered the crowd of demonstrators to rescue a fellow officer who had become surrounded and felt endangered.

According to her attorney, Servance suffered neck and shoulder injuries.

Poherence’s defense attorney, Michael Dutko, told CBS Miami that he has no plans to plead guilty in the case.

“The video is just a small snippet of all of the challenging circumstances and hostilities that an officer may have been encountering and dealing with at the time,” Dutko said.

“What was at issue there will largely drive the narrative from the defense perspective.”

Poherence has been placed on unpaid administrative leave amid an internal investigation into whether any departmental policies were violated.