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Thursday, December 23, 2010

[FL] Fort Myers Police Department has fired Officer Martinez, accused of choking, strangling ex-girlfriend

...Fort Myers Police Department has fired an officer after he was arrested on charges of domestic violence, violated an injunction and misused his department-issued cell phone...

[FL] Officer Martinez arrested, accused of domestic battery by strangulation and... - ...[N.J.] reported the officer slapped her, then got on top of her on the couch and started choking her. She says he let her go, then said, "Look what you made me do, you pushed my buttons"... [N.J.] says Martinez then put her in a choke hold and lifted her off the floor, and she began to lose consciousness... [Martinez] allegedly said he didn't do what [N.J.] had said he did and then invoked his right to remain silent...

Evangelia Ganosellis
December 22, 2010

The Fort Myers Police Department has fired an officer after he was arrested on charges of domestic violence, violated an injunction and misused his department-issued cell phone.

Joseph Martinez, 38, was terminated Dec. 13 — about three months after his initial arrest.

According to an internal affairs report, Martinez, an officer with the juvenile arrest and monitoring unit, was arrested Sept. 23 after allegedly striking and strangling his ex-girlfriend, [N.J.].

Martinez was placed on administrative leave after his arrest.

On Oct. 5, [N.J.] was granted an injunction for protection against Martinez.

Less than a week later, Martinez violated the injunction by calling and sending five text messages to [N.J.].

Martinez was again arrested Oct. 25 on a contempt of court charge.

According to the internal affairs report, Martinez also sent more than 1,000 personal text messages from his department-issued cell phone from Aug. 8 to Sept. 23.

Article since the last post:

September 25, 2010

A Fort Myers police officer is on administrative leave after he was charged with beating and strangling a former girlfriend.

Officer Joseph Martinez, 38, faces charges of domestic battery by strangulation and domestic violence battery.

According to the arrest report, Martinez, a seven-year department veteran, is accused by his ex-girlfriend, [N.J.], of pulling her by the hair, dragging her from the kitchen to the living room, pushing her down on the couch, slapping her across the face and choking her.

Martinez then allegedly said, “Look what you made me do. You pushed my buttons,” [N.J.] told investigators.

The arguing between the couple continued and ended after Martinez placed [N.J.] in a choke hold and then left the apartment, [N.J.] said.

The report states the two have been in an on-and-off relationship for two years and lived together for six months — but not consecutively. She also told investigators the relationship ended two weeks ago.

The fight erupted when she went to Martinez’s apartment to give him a check for the water bill. [N.J.] said Martinez wouldn’t answer the door and she texted him for 15 minutes until he finally answered.

“This is not the conduct that we would expect from one of our officers,” said Fort Myers Police Chief Doug Baker.

State law and department policy require due process, he said.

Martinez will remain on leave pending the outcome of a criminal investigation and an internal affairs investigation by the department’s Professional Standards Bureau.

Martinez was arrested at police headquarters and then transported to the Lee County Jail. As with any other criminal investigation, the case has been forwarded to the state attorney’s office.

Martinez’s record with the department includes a 2007 incident where he shot and killed unarmed Ernest Weston after Weston allegedly shot Margaret Scott. A grand jury found the shooting was justified.

His record with the department also shows that in September 2004, he was suspended for 20 hours and given six months probation after he left a hurricane shelter where he was stationed without permission.

After arriving late for two off-duty details in September and October 2004, he was ordered to not participate in any off-duty details for 90 days.

In February 2005, he was found to have violated the agency’s pursuit policy by disobeying orders to terminate a pursuit. He received counseling for that incident.

He also received counseling and training for missing two court dates in November 2005 and was counseled again for missing a yearly physical exam in October 2008.

Milay Duenas, 30, a paralegal at a local law firm and another former girlfriend of Martinez, said she believes he was pushed over the edge by [N.J.].

Duenas said [N.J.] was stalking and harassing Martinez throughout their six-month relationship.

“She would show up at my door crying and begging to have him back,” Duenas said. “She would knock on his door for hours.”

Duenas also said she broke off her relationship with Martinez because she feared [N.J.]’s actions could jeopardize the safety of Duenas’ 3-year-old child.

“He never showed any violence toward me at all,” Duenas said. “I don’t want to see his career go down because of this woman.”

[N.J.] refused to comment about Duenas’ allegations.
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