Body Cam Video: Domestic Violence Report Ends In Suspect’s Death

May 6, 2019, 2:57 PM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The Salt Lake City Police Department released body camera video on Monday showing its response to a domestic violence call that ultimately resulted in the death of a suspect.

Investigators say dispatch received the call at 11:42 p.m. on April 7th. The woman appears to be in some sort of struggle as she tells the dispatcher over the phone that her boyfriend held her hostage, put a pillow over her head, hit her and then attempted to take her phone.

When two officers arrived on scene, investigators say the suspect, 38-year-old Robert Martinez, refused to open his apartment door to the officers. More officers were called to the scene and after about 30 minutes of talking, they say Martinez willingly opened the door.

Officers say they questioned Martinez. During the investigation he reportedly complained of pain in his leg from a prior injury. Authorities say at 12:28 a.m. officers “immediately requested medical to come and evaluate Martinez” who was later cleared after signing a release acknowledging no further care was necessary.

The body camera video shows officers handcuff Martinez for unlawful detention, assault-domestic violence related, aggravated assault, and disruption of a communication device.

“We’re going to go downstairs to my car,” one officer tells him in the video. “Are you going to be able to do that okay?”

Martinez says he won’t and the officer responds, “Okay, we’ll go slow.”

The officer escorts Martinez out of the front door. In a press release, the SLC Police Department wrote “Martinez takes four steps down before unexpectedly going over the railing.” They estimate he fell about 10 feet to the ground.

Investigators say Martinez was initially unconscious, but regained consciousness. Officers called for medical care and medics took Martinez to a hospital. Investigators say he underwent surgery, but later died from head trauma on April 20th, about two weeks after the incident.

At a press conference Monday, Captain Jeff Kendrick with the Salt Lake City Police Department emphasized the seriousness of domestic violence incidents.

“Domestic violence calls are highly unpredictable and considered high hazard calls. We take domestic violence very seriously and never arrive alone,” Kendrick said.

Investigators say the video does not show any use of force and as such, no officer has been placed on any sort of leave. The Unified Police Department and District Attorney’s office are investigating.

The Salt Lake City Police Department says it “has victim advocates who are trained to help people who find themselves in situations like these.”

The department encourages anyone who has experienced this type of behavior to call 799-3000 and ask to speak with a victim advocate. You can also call their 24 hour hotline directly at 801-580-7969. Services are free and callers can get information anonymously.

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Body Cam Video: Domestic Violence Report Ends In Suspect’s Death