Broward Sheriff’s Office settles with deputy who complained about use of force in arrest

The Broward Sheriff’s Office has agreed to pay $390,000 to a deputy who complained about the unnecessary use of force by Fort Lauderdale police in the 2013 arrest of murder suspect Walter Hart.

Deputy Jeffrey Kogan, an 18-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, continues to work with the agency out of Pompano Beach. The settlement represents attorney fees plus what Kogan would have earned on the job had he been promoted four years ago.

According to his attorney, Tonja Haddad Coleman, Kogan passed a rigorous test in 2015 that should have entitled him to a promotion to the rank of sergeant.

But he was demoted from homicide detective to road patrol in 2013 after he complained about the April 2013 arrest of Hart, who was charged with the murder of Keema Gooding.

Hart was ultimately convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to eight years in prison.

Kogan accused a Fort Lauderdale police officer of siccing a K-9 on Hart after he had complied with his arrest. “It was my perception that the use of the dog was not necessary, ” Kogan said after winning his initial lawsuit in 2015. “I told the two people I thought needed to know — my supervisor and the prosecutor.”

Under the leadership of Broward Sheriff Scott Israel, Kogan fought to be reinstated to the rank of detective. He won in court, but his case was appealed and reversed due to alleged juror misconduct, sending it back to Broward Circuit Judge Sandra Perlman.

The retrial was set for jury selection this month, but politics intervened, and Kogan believes that made all the difference.