When Miami-Dade Police violently dragged Dyma Loving to the ground and arrested her earlier this month, she was standing on the sidewalk telling officers that a man had pulled a gun on her. According to County Commissioner Joe Martinez, though, the 26-year-old black woman "was not being compliant," and the officers used a legitimate technique.
The former cop's comments came during a commission meeting on Tuesday. Commissioner Barbara Jordan had brought up the incident, which was captured on video and went viral on Twitter. She suggested the county might need additional training for officers "and how they handle situations without escalating." That set off Martinez, a former police officer, who shook his finger while ranting about people being too quick to judge the cops.
"There was an assumption that they escalated it," he said. "You know what? They used a technique that is taught, which is the armbar takedown. That is taught in the academy. All right? Now, nobody knows but everybody immediately takes the side against the officer without knowing the full story."
Dispute on Miami-Dade commission over police video. Jordan: "The 1st thing that came to my mind was additional training for our officers." Martinez: "Everybody immediately takes the side against the officer..I do know the person was not compliant." https://t.co/jgyI5Mv21q— Doug Hanks (@doug_hanks) March 19, 2019
Video of Loving's encounter with police began circulating on Twitter last week. In it, Officer Alejandro Giraldo can be heard telling her she needs to be Baker Acted. Then he slaps handcuffs on her wrists, throws her into a headlock, and pulls her to the ground. Within a day of the video's posting, Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez announced Giraldo had been suspended during an internal investigation.
Body camera footage later released by the department only made the officer's actions look worse. As the Miami Herald put it, Loving "never threatened the officer, spoke clearly and became agitated only after repeated questioning and threats" from Giraldo.
Jordan, whose mention of the altercation came before a vote on purchasing more Tasers, noted that "we don't have the complete story." But, she said, additional training was the first thing that came to her mind.
Martinez was offended at the mere suggestion.
"I wasn't there; I can't comment on what occurred before," he said, clearly agitated. "I do know the person was not compliant. That leads also to an escalation. So I think we should refrain — especially as elected officials representing everybody in this community, including the people who wear a brown gown — from taking a position at this time until the investigation is over."
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It's worth noting that Martinez, who spent 14 years at the Miami Dade Police Department, was an outspoken opponent of Jordan's attempt to revive the county's long-dormant police oversight board. “I suffered under these people,” he said last year. “I don’t like being judged by people who have never walked in my shoes.”
That measure failed when then-Mayor Carlos Gimenez vetoed it, following Perez's assurances that there was "no widespread mistrust" of his department and that additional scrutiny was not needed.
You can view the entirety of Martinez's comments below, starting at about the three hour and 49-minute mark: