A Miami officer has been charged with misconduct and battery, according to the Miami-Dade state attorney, following a January incident where the officer put his knee to a Black woman’s neck and tased her twice in the stomach. The charges come after a monthslong investigation of the encounter that also led to the officer’s firing.
Jordy Yanes Martel aggressively assaulted 33-year-old Safiya Satchell on January 14 outside of a Florida strip club. He now faces two felony counts of official misconduct and four counts of misdemeanor battery. The charges come as protesters across the nation denounce the violent crimes of officers against Black bodies.
According to NBC News, Satchell was at Tootsie’s Cabaret with a friend, Raheam “Remy” Staats-Flemming, when they became frustrated by the service. As they were exiting the establishment, Satchell threw tip money at a waitress. Angered by her actions, the club’s manager enlisted the help of security to issue trespass warnings to Satchell and Staats-Flemming so that they would be unable to return to the club.
The Washington Post reports that Martel and another Miami Gardens police officer were working off duty security in their police uniforms when Martel walked up to Satchell’s black Mercedes SUV and told her that she needed to exit her car and walk over to his patrol car so that he could issue her the warning. Satchell asked to drive over because she had removed her shoes. A few seconds later, Martel escalated the exchange, telling Satchell she could exit the car or get arrested and cuffed for “resisting without violence.”
According to court records, Martel had no legal grounds to detain Satchell, but that didn’t stop him from yanking her out of her car and thrusting her to the ground. Once she was there, he knelt on her neck and tased her twice in the stomach. The whole time her friend is recording the encounter. On video you can hear Satchell saying she’s only 119 pounds While Martel’s knee presses into her neck. Screams ring out when he begins to tase her.
As Satchell is on the ground with two officers surrounding her, another man walks up to Staats-Flemming and tells him to delete the video of the encounter.
Satchell was booked at Miami’s Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center. Her charges were later dropped.
In a statement obtained by NBC News, Satchell’s attorney, Jonathan Jordan, said, “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.”
Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert vocalized his support of the charges brought against Martel during a press conference on Thursday. He and State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle both noted that nobody is above the law, and that includes the police.