Resisting-arrest charges stand against Bluffton man who says police used too much force

A Bluffton man who accused two town police officers of using excessive force to detain him after a noise complaint has been indicted on a resisting-arrest charge stemming from that incident.

Tony Martinez was arrested Sept. 13 after his neighbor called the Bluffton Police Department to complain his music was too loud.

The police report said Martinez became unruly when officers asked him to turn the volume down, and they had to pin him to his patio to handcuff him. But Martinez, 53, said he did not resist arrest and the officers never told him to turn down the music.

The misdemeanor resisting-arrest charge can result in a year in prison or a $500 to $1,000 fine.

Martinez also faces a noise-violation citation in municipal court. He has requested a jury trial, for which no date has been set, according to court clerk Lisa Cunningham.

Martinez's lawyer, Charles Houston, said he had hoped the grand jury would dismiss the resisting-arrest charge when it convened Oct. 28. That would have cleared the way for him to sue the Bluffton Police Department, he said.

The 14th Judicial Circuit Solicitor's Office will work with Houston to resolve the case, Solicitor's Office spokesman Daniel Brownstein said. Possible options include negotiating a plea, a pre-trial intervention -- an alternative to sentencing that involves programs such as community service -- or scheduling a court date.

At a preliminary hearing Oct. 8, Magistrate Court Judge Mary Sharp ruled the officers had probable cause for arresting Martinez.

Bluffton police Capt. Brian Norberg said the department has concluded its internal investigation into the complaint but would not release the results until Chief David McAllister has reviewed them, which should be early next week.