Beaufort News

Report: Police didn't violate man's civil rights, laws

Two Bluffton Police officers who pinned a man to the ground while arresting him in September did not violate his civil rights or any department policy or laws, according to a internal police investigation.

Tony Martinez, 53, of Fuller Court in Bluffton, is fighting a noise violation charge in municipal court and a resisting-arrest charge in circuit court related to the Sept. 13 incident when police were called after a complaint that his music was too loud. No trial dates have been set for either charge.

Bluffton police launched an investigation of how the officers -- Sgt. Donald Chandler and Officer Joseph Mooney -- handled the incident after Martinez lodged a civil complaint.

According to statements provided by both parties and interviews with the officers, the police did not act inappropriately, Chief David McAllister said Friday.

"Now it will go through the court system," McAllister said.

Martinez said Saturday he had not been informed of the report's conclusions.

According to a police report filed after his arrest, Martinez became hostile when the officers came to his patio to tell him to turn the music down. The report stated he also refused to get his ID and attempted to evade the officers when they tried to put him in handcuffs.

Both Martinez and the report say the officers grabbed his arms and pushed him down. One of them then put a knee on his back and pinned him face down on a couch on his porch.

Martinez said just after the incident that he wasn't resisting and was trying to get his driver's license from inside his home to show the officers.

He also claims he was never asked to lower the volume of his music, and said the music still was playing when he returned from jail later that night.

Martinez' family corroborates his account. His wife, Patricia, said she tried to videotape the arrest as it was happening but the footage did not turn out.

Martinez regrets the lack of proof, which he said "would have settled this a long time ago."

"I know what happened, here, I know what happened to me and ... I'll tell who I have to tell and hopefully they'll believe me," he said Saturday.