MIAMI (WSVN) - The trial of a former Miami Gardens Police officer who placed his knee on a woman’s neck entered its second day.
On Thursday, the defense presented its case after both sides questioned an expert.
The main focus on Thursday for former Jordy Martel on was whether or not his knee on the victim’s neck was in a proper three-point pin, as well as the arrest report.
Martel stood before a judge during his court appearance and decided not to testify.
He faces four counts of battery and two counts of official misconduct, which stemmed from the tough takedown of Safiya Satchell. The Jan. 14, 2020 encounter was caught on camera.
Martel is accused of placing his knee on Satchell’s neck.
Pointing to an image of the arrest, state attorney Kioceaia Stenson questioned Martel’s use of force.
“She can’t run away, she has no weapons, she can’t punch him in the face, she can’t punch the other officer in the face, she can’t kick him because he’s on her side, she can’t yell at him because he’s standing up,” she said. “What is really necessary about that?”
The defense called two witnesses to take the stand.
Ruben Mena, a law enforcement security instructor, has taught police officers in South Florida and internationally on modern techniques.
He testified that he saw in the video Martel attempting the three-point pin to gain control of Satchell in another attempt to handcuff her once she was on the ground.
“It’s when you utilize your knee, either in your back shoulder blade or in your collarbone, while trying to hold the hands, making it three points, to subdue the person you’re trying to get handcuffed,” Mena said.
The state rebutted by making Martel’s knee placement the main focus.
“It may be partially on her neck, no doubt it looks like it’s partially on her neck,” Mena said. “I can’t attest to the fact that it’s on her neck, primarily because in no way cutting off her airway when she’s screaming at the top of her lungs.”
The proper effective three-point pin was also in question.
“That is not an ideal takedown, but given the circumstances that she is still resisting and fighting, it’s very difficult, if not impossible for Officer Martel to assert exactly where his knee is going to go,” Mena said.
Mena testified that Martel performed the pin as well as expected given the circumstance.
“The subject was combative, thrashing and very difficult to effect the three-point effectively,” Mena said.
Satchell was then shocked with a taser while she was on the ground.
She testified Wednesday in court and rewatched the video of the rough arrest.
Stenson then drew attention to the arrest report.
“He omitted certain facts that were necessary and important,” said the state attorney.
Defense attorney David Braun countered that the jury will have to determine whether or not Martel used justified force.
“That he reasonably believes necessary to defend himself or another from bodily harm while making the arrest,” said Braun.
The defense attorney referenced the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Special Agent Gaylon White”s testimony on Wednesday, in regard to the official misconduct charges.
“The agent sat here, he testified to you, ‘You know what? It could’ve been a mistake. You know what? It could’ve been an innocent omission, it could’ve been something that went right past him,'” said Braun. “I mean, this is their witness. This is the witness that’s going to make the case for the official misconduct.”
The defense rested in the afternoon.
Closing arguments have concluded. The jury will be back in court at 10 a.m. on Friday, and at that point, the case will be turned over to them to start deliberations.
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