JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After the State Attorney’s Office released a statement explaining why it would not be filing felony charges against a former Jacksonville police officer accused of beating a woman in handcuffs, the woman's attorney announced that his team is requesting that a special prosecutor investigate the case.
John Phillips said he wants an independent prosecutor, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement or a grand jury to investigate the treatment of Mayra Martinez by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office during her arrest and booking.
Phillips said he is also contacting the U.S. Justice Department over the matter.
“We are asking for a special prosecutor to take over this case,” Phillips said. “We are going to make the application to the governor today. We think that given there is an election, given that things are getting caught up in the election, where you have public officials in this town going after each other instead of doing what they need to be doing, then it was time for a special prosecutor to come in. We are also asking for the FDLE and the department of justice (to step in).”
Prosecutor Rich Mantei responded to Phillips' comments Thursday.
“You do this job long enough, most of the decisions we make, make someone unhappy on one side or another,” Mantei said. “You get used to that, and if you're not mature enough to handle that without letting it get to you personally, then you shouldn't be doing it.”
Mantei said he will let Gov. Rick Scott respond to Phillips' demand for a special prosecutor, but he said the State Attorney's Office has been more than fair in the case.
Attorney releases new jail video
Phillips also released images and surveillance video of a second altercation that took place at the Duval County Jail, after police said Martinez was beaten in the sally port by Akinyemi Borisade.
The Sheriff's Office fired Borisade after cameras captured him repeatedly striking Martinez, who was handcuffed. Martinez told News4Jax that she suffered a concussion and nerve damage from the beating.
Phillips said Martinez still can’t feel her fingers and is consulting with a surgeon. He said she has six disc injuries and has constant pain in her back and neck.
The state attorney's disposition report revealed that another physical altercation took place inside the jail that day between Martinez and a female corrections officer.
Phillips said when Martinez was told to remove her nose piercing and belly button ring, she stripped out of her clothes and threw them on the floor of the bathroom. The female corrections officer can then be seen in the video grabbing Martinez by the hair and pushing her to the floor. Five male officers are called in to help subdue Martinez while she is naked.
According to the disposition statement, Martinez, who was charged with trespassing and resisting arrest, was acting erratically.
The report said officers put a uniform top on Martinez, then handcuffs, but she continued to resist and tried to kick an officer.
The officers brought in a restraint chair and told her she would be placed in it if she didn’t calm down. Martinez continued to taunt the officers and said she would sue them, the report said.
The images from the surveillance video show what appears to be an officer waving Martinez's underwear in a hallway after the altercation.
Incidents begin with violent arrest
The naked takedown was the third incident between Martinez and JSO officers that day.
Video taken in a parking lot in front of Scores, an adult club on University Boulevard at Philips Highway, shows Martinez's violent arrest. According to the police report, officers were called to the bar to escort Martinez from the property because she was drunk and belligerent after quitting work on her first day.
Martinez was charged with trespassing and resisting arrest, and according to the police report, had to be struck several times in the back because she was kicking at and trying to bite the officers.
The parking lot video shows Martinez being hit while she is face down on the ground.
“If her injuries occurred during that parking lot incident, it's going to cause a problem,” Mantei said. “What I think I heard today is they want us to add an additional charge over what happened in the parking lot, and the problem is, we reviewed that activity and, as unfortunate as it is, she is violently resisting her arrest, and she is continuing to do that throughout, and the measures that they took, while they're not pleasant to look at, don't rise to the level of a crime.”
Phillips said the three videos show how his client was injured by police, although the State Attorney's Office said Martinez's injuries likely occurred elsewhere.
"She got into a rather serious car crash while she was participating in an armed robbery in 2004 down in the Orlando area," Mantei said. "The car is described as having flipped several times and gone over speeds of 100 mph. She sustained injuries in a car crash."
Aside from the 2004 armed robbery arrest, the disposition statement also included that Martinez was arrested for DUI in 2012 after drinking three Long Islands and smoking marijuana and that she was arrested in Orange County for resisting and disturbing the peace in 2014. She was convicted of disorderly conduct and brawling and fighting.
Phillips said releasing the disposition report, which contained humiliating details about Martinez, was intended to attack her credibility, in defense of Borisade.
“I'm worried about where were heading as a city,” Phillips said. “We've got too many issues that are going on unaddressed, and this started as an incident at a parking lot, but then turned into an incident in a jail. That … turned into an incident inside the jail and turned into incident after incident and misrepresentations since then.”
The disposition statement also mentioned that Borisade had a criminal history of his own -- petit theft prior to becoming an officer.
The State Attorney’s Office said that because Martinez “picked a fight with many of the people she encountered that day,” exactly when her injuries were suffered would be impossible to prove, and felony battery charges against Borisade would not fit the evidence and would likely be dropped upon a motion to dismiss.
"It's not a comment on honesty," Mantei said. "The statement that I wrote didn't really call her dishonest. What it said is you've got some issues that are going to reflect adversely and a jury is going to be permitted to draw inferences about her and everyone else."
Officer explains actions to detectives
Phillips also released the videotaped statements to the JSO Integrity Unit from Borisade and Officer Nathan Vickery, who were the ones who arrested Martinez in the parking lot of Scores in April.
The 40-minute video was recorded within hours of the sally port altercation as the Integrity Unit investigated Borisade's actions.
Borisade, 26, had been on the job two months, and can be seen crying and soft-spoken as he answers questions.
He waived his right to an attorney and tried to explain to detectives why he punched a handcuffed Martinez at least three times with a closed fist.
Integrity Unit Detective: What happened?
Borisade: From there she just keeps being disorderly, irate, belligerent, yelling saying, "I'm going to come after you, your family. You guys are all wrong. You all arrested the wrong person."
The detective tries to explain how intoxicated suspects are known to act and explains emotions can't interfere with the job to serve and protect.
Integrity Unit Detective: Did something get you angry?
B: No. She ran toward me, and I didn't know what she was going to do. She could have spit in my face. She could have bit me. She had limbs and body parts that could have attacked me still.
Integrity Unit Detective: In what way?
B: She could have bit me. She could have kicked me like she did. She could have shouldered me, like with her shoulder off the curb I was standing on.
Integrity Unit Detective: What does the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office policies and procedures state about suspects that are handcuffed. Are we allowed to strike them?
B: Yes, sir.
Integrity Unit Detective: In what way? (Long pause) Because she was handcuffed, correct?
B: Yes, sir.
Integrity Unit Detective: And did you strike her?
B: Yes, sir.
Integrity Unit Detective: Did you strike her with an opened hand or closed fist?
B: Closed fist.
Integrity Unit Detective: Do you remember the amount of times you struck her?
B: (Long pause) I think it was three.
Integrity Unit Detective: Where did you strike her at?
B: In the stomach.
Integrity Unit Detective: Where in the academy that they allow us to punch suspects that are handcuffed?
B: I mean at that point she's physically and active, actively resisting
Integrity Unit Detective: OK, if you’re saying she tried to kick you, which is what you said, right?
B: She didn't try to, she did.
Integrity Unit Detective: OK, so she kicks you and your response is you ball a fist up and you punch her three times in the stomach. What part of that falls under JSO protocol?
Borisade silently holds his head in his hands.
Integrity Unit Detective: We have takedown procedures, right? If she's using her legs -- would you agree with that?
Borisade's head remains in his hands, and he doesn't respond, but can be seen crying.
Integrity Unit Detective: When we deal with intoxicated, mentally ill people of that nature, they'll do things to kind of, you know, (expletive) us off, but what we have to do is we have to remain above them.
The detective later asks Borisade if he felt he was right in the situation or if it could have been handled better.
B: I mean, it's just like, either way, I feel like, either way it would have looked bad, because I'm a guy and she's a girl. If I would have took her down to the ground, she would have landed on her hands. She wouldn't have been able to catch herself. she would have landed on her face, and that would have looked really bad on camera, just like what I did looked bad on camera.
Integrity Unit Detective: What do you think looked bad?
B: The amount of times I hit her.
Integrity Unit Detective: What you just said, male or female, if it was a male, would you have been justified doing what you did tonight? Remember something, we don't put gender on suspects, we don’t put race on suspects, we don’t put religion on suspects. Suspects are suspects.
News4Jax spoke with Dr. Justin D'Arienzo, a forensic and clinical psychologist, about why Borisade would be crying for most of his videotaped statement. He said the incident continues to play in the officer's mind.
"He was trying to come up with rationalizations as to why he may have acted that way. He's clearly frustrated. And the crying represents there was some empathy and he was frustrated with himself and likely regretful about the situation," D'Arienzo said.
D'Arienzo also said that very often, people involved with the military and law enforcement hold themselves to a higher standard in society and it's that pressure that may have been negatively released during the beating and through tears in the interview.
"They're really anxious and they talk about the added pressure based on the increased scrutiny based on what's happening in the media, more recently so. I think that has certainly added to the pressure for them," D'Arienzo said.
Vickery was also questioned by the JSO Integrity Unit after he was seen in the dashcam video assisting Borisade. he told detectives that his fellow officer went too far.
Integrity Unit Detective: You said you actually missed some things on the video that you missed?
Integrity Unit Detective: What exactly were you talking about?
Vickery: The point where he actually pushed her face or whatever into the ground once, maybe a couple of times. And I didn't see that at the time that it happened.
Integrity Unit Detective: I'm trying to, I want to ask this correctly. Basically, what you're saying is you missed him pushing her head into the ground? What was the reason you think he would've done that?
V: I don't know.
Though the video shows Martinez being pushed into the ground, detectives questioned why Vickery failed to recount that in his report.
Integrity Unit Detective: Did you miss what you didn't see on the video because you didn't want to see it, or because you were trying to take care of business?
V: No sir, I think it was straight adrenaline. I just, there were some things that I just missed.
Vickery said his mind was just elsewhere, but when then he looked at the video.
V: It was tough to watch, him being a buddy of mine.
Integrity Unit Detective: Do you agree or disagree with the actions?
The Sheriff's Office released a statement Thursday about its investigation into Martinez's arrest.
“Our agency investigation has focused on the actions of our personnel involved in the arrest and booking of Ms. Martinez. Officer Borisade was arrested and terminated by JSO when his actions were reported to supervisors and the video reviewed by the sheriff and me, that same day,” Undersheriff Pat Ivey said. “The JSO investigation has also looked at the remainder of the booking process, and no criminal wrongdoing by any employee has been found to have occurred. Currently the administrative investigation is underway, which focuses on any policy violations. When that portion is completed, the full findings of our internal investigation will be released.”
Borisade's attorney entered a not guilty plea to the misdemeanor charge on his behalf Wednesday. Borisade's next hearing will be June 21.