FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A former Miccosukee police officer on trial and facing extortion charges for allegedly forcing teenagers to strip naked has decided not to testify in his own defense.
Authorities said Michael Martinez pulled over Kyle Shoulta and Remy Riley near mile marker 48 of Alligator Alley, located in the tribe’s reservation, on Aug. 5, 2016.
Marijuana and alcohol was found inside their car at the time, police said.
Speaking on the witness stand, Shoulta said the officer gave him the option to strip and run naked in lieu of going to jail.
“I was given a choice of go to jail or run, so I took the choice to run naked,” he said.
Martinez was fired about a year after the incident took place.
He was arrested and charged with extortion in 2018.
In court yesterday, it was believed that Martinez would testify in his own defense, but he decided last minute against it.
The trial is now hearing closing arguments before the jury deliberates, Thursday.
“The extortion count for Kyle Shoulta is, ‘I’m gonna arrest you, take you to jail for weed, unless you do something for me,'” said prosecutor Justin McCormack in court, “‘unless you get naked and run for me.'”
“He took them to a place in broad daylight in public where anybody could drive around, to do this illegal thing?” argued defense attorney Joshua Fisher. “Look at the woods. He could have had them go off anywhere if he was gonna do this terrible thing.”
Martinez faces up to five years in prison if he’s found guilty.
Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.