Fla. officer to be charged after video shows him with knee on woman's neck

The expected charging of Jordy Martel came more than a week after he was fired from his job as a patrol officer

By David Ovalle
Miami Herald

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — A Miami Gardens police officer seen on video pressing his knee onto the neck of a woman is expected to be charged with battery and official misconduct, the Miami Herald has learned.

The expected charging of Jordy Martel came more than a week after Miami Gardens police fired him from his job as a patrol officer. The arrest also comes as protests against police brutality have unfolded across the nation following the death of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis cop pressed his knee on his neck for more than eight minutes.

Jordy, a police officer for less than two years, is expected to surrender Thursday morning. The State Attorney’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued a press release announcing a 2:30 p.m. press conference to “discuss the charging a former Miami Gardens police officer.”

The Herald has learned Martel’s arrest stems from his rough takedown of a woman outside Tootsie’s Cabaret, a popular Miami Gardens strip club, on Jan. 14. A witness captured the incident on smartphone video that has yet to be released publicly.

That morning, Martel had been working off-duty security at the club when a manager complained that a woman was “being disorderly and disrespectful toward members of the staff,” he wrote in his arrest report.

He confronted the woman, Safiya Satchell, 33, as she sat in a Mercedes SUV. In his arrest report, he claimed that Satchell refused to get out of the car so he could arrest her for trespassing.

He claimed that he tried opening the door and she closed the window on his hand, then began “striking me,” he claimed. Once Martel got out of the SUV, he claimed she resisted by “tensing and kicking,” then punched him on the lip. He twice used a Taser stun gun.

Defense lawyers for Satchell turned over the video — taken by Satchell’s friend — to Miami-Dade prosecutors and FDLE. Investigators determined that the video showed Martel’s arrest report contained several false statements. He’s charged with official misconduct for the arrest report.

Martel initially arrested Satchell on charges of resisting an officer with violence, and battery on a law-enforcement office — both third-degree felonies. Prosecutors later dropped the charges.

Satchell is African American. Martel is Hispanic.

Jonathan Jordan, the lawyer who represented Satchell, praised the arrest.

“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,” Jordan said. “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.”

Martel and another officer, Javier Castano, were fired last week, although Miami Gardens police has not said why. The two had also been involved in another rough arrest at a RaceTrac gas station. Both officers had less than two years of experience on the force.

It’s the latest arrest for a rough takedown in South Florida. Over the past couple years, Miami-Dade prosecutors have charged a slew of officers over kicks and slaps of handcuffed suspects — but so far, three of them have been acquitted.


©2020 Miami Herald

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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