Recorded on cellphone video digging his knee into a woman’s neck while tasing her abdomen, a former Florida police officer was recently arrested and charged with battery and misconduct. The officer was fired a week earlier after a video of a separate incident recorded the officer and a colleague using excessive force at a gas station.
On January 14, Safiya Satchell and her friend, Raheam “Remy” Staats-Flemming, left Tootsie’s Cabaret strip club after being dissatisfied with the service and were refunded money for food. On their way out, Satchell reportedly threw tip money at a waitress, which led to the club’s manager ordering off-duty uniformed Miami Gardens police officers working as security to issue trespass warnings to Satchell and her friend.
Although off-duty police officer Jordy Yanes Martel had no legal grounds to detain Satchell, he reached through her open window and opened her car door before pulling her out of the vehicle.
According to the video, Martel swept Satchell’s leg before driving his knee into her neck. With Satchell pinned to the ground by two officers, Martel aimed his Taser at her abdomen and fired twice with no legal justification.
According to the arrest affidavit, Martel accused Satchell of resisting arrest and violently kicking the officers while on the ground. But the video clearly refuted many of Martel’s false accusations in his report.
In a separate incident on March 21, officers Martel and Javier Castano were recorded in another video using excessive force against a nonviolent witness at a gas station. On June 17, Martel and Castano were terminated for use of excessive force.
One week later, Martel was charged with four counts of battery and two counts of misconduct for attacking Satchell and making false statements in his arrest affidavit.
Shortly after Martel was arrested, Satchell’s attorney released the following statement: “We are pleased to have been notified that FDLE and the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Public Corruption Unit have taken action against this former officer. It is long overdue for civilian oversight of our cities’ police departments to ensure our officers are not just serving but protecting our community. If you’re an officer that has broken policy or acted under color of law with a belief that Black Lives don’t Matter, you ought to be looking over your shoulder because the chickens have finally come home to roost. My client deserves to witness justice be served in this prosecution against this former officer where so many others in her position have not been as fortunate.”
“The standards that our community require aren’t subject to interpretation,” Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert said in a Thursday news conference. “If [police] violate those professional standards, then we will terminate them. If their conduct rises to the level where it’s criminal, [State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle] is going to prosecute you.”