Florida brothers are suing police for $ 75,000 for excessive violence

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Two brothers sued a Florida police department for a 2017 feud in which agents held the couple while using excessive force, believing that Star Trek paraphernalia hanging in their home was weapons.

Raymond and Randall Purcell are aiming for at least $ 75,000 in damages, naming Fort Lauderdale police officers Steven Pohorence and Alexander Paul and the city as defendants in their lawsuit filed Monday.

Pohorence made national headlines last year when he was charged with first-degree felony after seeing on video a kneeling woman pushing during George Floyd protest in town last year.

The suit claims that Paul hit then 62-year-old Raymond with the butt of his rifle, knocked him to the ground and pulled his arm so roughly that “Raymond heard a click in his arms and went limp.” Miami Herald reports.

Raymond and Randall Purcell sue Fort Lauderdale police officers Steven Pohorence and Alexander Paul and the city for an altercation in 2017 in which agents held the couple while using excessive force, believing that Star Trek paraphernalia hanging in their homes were weapons

Raymond and Randall Purcell sue Fort Lauderdale police officers Steven Pohorence and Alexander Paul and the city for an altercation in 2017 in which agents held the couple while using excessive force, believing that Star Trek paraphernalia hanging in their homes were weapons

Paul would then have hit Raymond in the face “With so much force it knocked Raymond’s acrylic teeth out of his mouth.” Raymond begged Paul while the beating was taking place, according to the lawsuit, telling the officer that he was disabled.

And when his brother tried to intervene, Pohorence stepped in and kicked Randall before putting his foot on the man’s face. Randall was left with a half-inch cut at his eye, the suit says.

As a direct and direct result of the city’s negligent surveillance, retention and training of Defendants Pohorence and Paul, [the Purcells] were victims of injuries, including deprivation of their civil and constitutional rights, ” the brothers’ lawyers claimed in their complaint.

Raymond had called police to the house after his and his wife’s car was keyed in, allegedly by a family member, according to a press release for the lawsuit.

Agents declined to make an arrest, much to Raymond’s disappointment, claiming the damage appeared to be less than $ 1000 and adding that the family member was no longer on the property.

Raymond hit the hood of his car, and while in his garage, he also threw a flashlight in the opposite direction of where the officers were, according to the suit.

Pohorence made national headlines last year when he was charged with first-degree felony after seeing on video a kneeling woman pushing during George Floyd protest in town last year.

Pohorence made national headlines last year when he was charged with first-degree felony after seeing on video a kneeling woman pushing during George Floyd protest in town last year.

Pohorence made national headlines last year when he was charged with first-degree felony after seeing on video a kneeling woman pushing during George Floyd protest in town last year.

While Raymond was trying to get back to his house, officers rushed and held the man and his brother.

Both Paul and Pohorence said in their statements that they felt threatened by the nuisance because they knew Raymond had a hidden firearms license and a firearm in the house. Paul added that they saw “weapons all over the wall.”

The weapons had actually been Star Trek memorabilia and decorative knives, the suit read.

Both officers shared that they had no probable reason to arrest Raymond.

“We were holding him over a security issue for officers,” Pohorence said in his statement.

The lawsuit states that the brothers “suffered harm including mental anguish, physical harm, pain and suffering, humiliation, embarrassment, lost earnings, and loss of the ability to make money.”

Pohorence has been assessed by FLPD's internal affairs department for having used violence 79 times in the less than four years he has been with the department and is currently on administrative leave without pay following the pushing incident

Pohorence has been assessed by FLPD's internal affairs department for having used violence 79 times in the less than four years he has been with the department and is currently on administrative leave without pay following the pushing incident

Pohorence has been assessed by FLPD’s internal affairs department for having used violence 79 times in the less than four years he has been with the department and is currently on administrative leave without pay following the pushing incident

The lawsuit also mentions that the FLPD’s internal affairs concluded the officers’ conduct in 2019 that the two had been cleared of wrongdoing. The files have never been sent to the Citizens’ Police Review Board, which reviews the investigation and recommends disciplinary action once finalized due to internal affairs.

“The city and police supervisors and superiors knew that its agents were conducting illegal searches, seizures and excessive force against citizens and residents of Fort Lauderdale,” the lawsuit reads. “It has taken no action to train or discipline its police officers to avoid the constitutional violations discussed in this complaint.”

The brother’s lawyer said it was “unsurprisingly” that the internal affairs investigation cleared the agents of wrongdoing and vowed that he and his fellow adviser – Ben Kuehne – would “ruthlessly seek justice” for the Purcells.

“It is unfortunate and unsurprising that the internal investigation of the Fort Lauderdale police has cleared both agents of wrongdoing,” Purcells attorney Michael T. Davis said in a statement.

“It is yet another example of the need for a system in which these kinds of investigations seek justice rather than justification.”

Pohorence has been assessed by FLPD’s internal affairs department for having used violence 79 times in the less than four years he has been with the department. He is currently on administrative leave without pay as a result of the pushing incident.

Paul is currently being charged with shooting Broward resident Melvin Wring in a June 2019 incident at the Broward County Transit central bus station. Wring seeks $ 30,000 for the shooting and claims to have constituted unnecessary lethal violence, claiming he posed no threat.