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Cops Saw 'Weapons All Over the Wall.' Brothers: Not Exactly

Fort Lauderdale police accused of excessive force felt threatened after seeing 'Star Trek' props: suit
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2021 8:08 AM CDT

(Newser) – Two police officers in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who've been previously accused of what the Sun Sentinel dubs "overzealous policing" have now been hit with a lawsuit by two brothers who are claiming the same. Per the complaint filed Monday against officers Alexander Paul and Steven Pohorence, as well as the city itself, Raymond Purcell called 911 on April 6, 2017, to report his car and his wife's car had been keyed; he claimed his own sister did it. When Pohorence and Paul arrived on the scene, however, they informed Purcell, then 62, that because the damage appeared to be less than $1,000, no police report would be filed, records note. That frustrated Purcell, who then hit the hood of his car and threw a flashlight, though not in the direction of the officers, per the suit. The complaint notes Purcell then tried to go inside his home, which is when Paul allegedly hit him with the butt of his gun, threw him down, and pulled his arms back, per the Miami Herald.

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Paul is then accused of punching Purcell in the mouth "with so much force that it knocked Raymond's acrylic partial dentures out." Meanwhile, when Purcell's brother Randall tried to intervene, Pohorence kicked him down and placed his foot on Randall's face, leaving a gash near his eye, the suit notes. In depositions, both officers say they felt threatened, as they knew Raymond had a concealed weapon permit and a weapon inside, with Paul adding they saw "weapons all over the wall." The suit notes those "weapons" were actually Star Trek props. Paul is said to have used force 70 times during his six years on the force, though the department says he never violated policy. He's being sued in one case for shooting a Broward man. Pohorence, now on leave without pay, has been reviewed internally for using force 79 times in his four years on the force. An internal probe of the two officers exonerated them in 2019 in the case of the Purcells. The brothers are suing for $75,000. (Read more Star Trek stories.)

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