Video shows knee to woman’s neck, other force leading to former Miami Gardens police officer arrest

Prosecutor says much of what is seen disputes what officer put on police report

MIAMI, Fla. – Prosecutors said video shows a different story than the one former Miami Gardens police officer Jordy Yanes Martel relayed on a police report in January.

Yanes Martel, 30, of Hialeah, was charged Thursday with two counts of official misconduct and four counts of battery from an investigation that began at the request of the Miami State District Attorneys office. He is being held at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center on $6,000 bond.

Charges stem from a January incident where Yanes Martel, then a police officer, was working off-duty security at Tootsie’s Cabaret on 183rd Street in Miami. The manager of the club told agents that he asked Yanes Martel to give a woman, later identified as Safiya Satchell, a trespass warning after she was harassing wait staff and then threw money at a waitress.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said that Yanes Martel had “no legal authority to detain the victim,” that he forcibly removed her from her vehicle, and that one he took the victim to the ground, knelt on her neck.”

FDLE agents say that Satchell, a black woman, was in her vehicle trying to leave the club when she was stopped by security. According to FDLE, Yanes Martel told the victim she was being trespassed and told her to get out of her car and walk to his police car. “The victim refused to walk to the police car and instead offered to drive over. "

“The two videos you are about to see show a number of different facts and circumstances, which call into question the truthfulness of the filed affidavit that was used to criminally charge Safiya Satchell,” Katherine Fernandez Rundel, Miami-Dade State Attorney said, at a press conference Thursday.

Yanes Martel’s Police Report

In a police report obtained by Local 10, Yanes Martel offers a different story.

Yanes Matel stated that he was working the off-duty detail at Tootsies at 5:25 a.m., when he as approached by management in reference to someone trespassing. Yanes Martel said he was wearing a police uniform displaying “conspicuous police markings.”

Satchell, 33, was being “disorderly and disrespectful toward the members of the staff.” The manager wanted her to leave, according to the police report.

Here is the chain of events in Yanes Martel’s police report.

Yanes Martel said the woman, “...purposely and maliciously...struck me on the right part of my lower lip with a closed fist ..(she) continued to fight officers by kicking and punching...”

Yanes Martel stated in the report that he had given Satchell multiple verbal commands to step out of her black Mercedes SUV or “she would be arrested.” She refused to comply, according to the report.

When he did get her out of the vehicle, he said he redirected her to the ground using a ”leg sweep technique.” She continue to kick and punch. That is when Yanes Martel said he told her to comply or she would be tased. “The defendant still refused to comply causing me to retrieve my department issued taser at which point I drive stunned her at least 2 times seeking compliance.”

After a short struggle and with the assistance of another officer, he said he was able to place Satchell in handcuffs.

The Investigation

The FDLE said the victim suffered numerous cuts and bruises as well as abrasions on her stomach from the taser.

“It is so important that allegations of excessive use of force in law enforcement are fully investigated, not only for the betterment of the community, but also for those law enforcement officers dedicated to public service and helping others,” said FDLE Miami Special Agent in Charge Troy Walker. “We appreciate our partnership with State Attorney Kathleen Fernandez Rundle and Miami Gardens PD.”

“Yanes Martel took Ms. Satchell to the ground and once on the ground, Martel allegedly used excessive force by putting his knee on Ms. Satchell’s neck,” Rundle said.

Charges against Satchell have since been dropped.

“We are pleased to have been notified that FDLE and the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Public Corruption Unit have taken action against this former officer. It is long overdue for civilian oversight of our cities’ police departments to ensure our officers are not just serving but protecting our community. 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. My client deserves to witness justice be served in this prosecution against this former officer where so many others in her position have not been as fortunate,” according to a statement from Satchell’s attorney, Jonathan Jordan of Rier Jordan, P.A.

The investigation will be prosecuted by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.

Yanes Martel is being represented by the South Florida Benevolent Association, who stated that their concern over “recent nationwide events surrounding law enforcement played into today’s actions... Law enforcement officers are not above the law, but they deserve the same rights as any other citizen and, that is innocence until proven guilty.”

Yanes Martel was fired on June 18 along with Javier Castano from the Miami Gardens Police Department after being called to a gas station in Miami Gardens in March. Miami Gardens Police Chief Delma Noel Pratt said she fired the officers because of “egregious behavior.” The FDLE investigation into that alleged use of force is ongoing.

The officer was hired in October 2018. In February of this year, he was being investigated by internal affairs for an improper procedure following a crash in his patrol car. Then the investigation and firing over alleged excessive force in March of this year.

About the Authors:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba.