Martinez was treated at the scene for a head injury, hospitalized and underwent surgery. He died April 20.
Because Martinez fell while in custody, Salt Lake City police are treating his death as an officer-involved critical incident, the second of three in the department this year. Unlike shootings by police, no officers were put on administrative leave, police said.
Salt Lake police body camera captured mans fatal 10-foot fall after domestic violence arrest
Salt Lake Countys Unified Police Department and the District Attorneys office are investigating the arrest and fall, as is Salt Lake Citys internal affairs office.
The arrest was the culmination of a domestic violence call made at 11:42 p.m. on Saturday, April 6. On the 911 call, which Salt Lake City police also released Monday, a woman is heard screaming and yelling, apparently as Martinez was trying to take away her phone. The woman told the dispatcher that Martinez had put a blanket over her head, and was hitting her.
A bit later, the woman is out on the curb, explaining more calmly to the dispatcher that hes been holding me hostage in his house for a couple of hours. Martinez and his victim both lived in the second-story apartment at 204 E. Browning Ave., in the Liberty Wells neighborhood of Salt Lake City, police said.
Police were dispatched at 11:47 p.m. and arrived five minutes later. Martinez refused to open the door, and an officer talked to Martinez for 30 minutes to de-escalate the situation. After that discussion, Martinez unlocked the door, and explained his side of the story. Martinez complained of pain in his leg from an old injury, and officers called in a medical team at 12:28 a.m.
After the medical team cleared Martinez, officers arrested him for unlawful detention, domestic violence-related assault, aggravated assault and disruption of a communications device. The video shows Martinez crying as police explain the charges and put handcuffs on him.
No matter how much you cry or beg, its not going to change anything, OK? an officer calmly tells Martinez. Were trying to be adults about it, and tell you whats going on.
The video shows the officers slowly leading the handcuffed Martinez out of the apartment and down the stairs. An officer says, Nice and slow, k? Not in any hurry. Then, in an instant, Martinez goes over the railing.
On the ground, Martinez was unconscious but regained consciousness. A medical team was called in, while officers talked to Martinez and told him to remain still so he wouldnt hurt his neck or spine. When the medical team arrived, officers removed Martinez handcuffs. The medical crew determined Martinez was ambulatory, and he was helped onto a gurney and taken by ambulance to a hospital, where his injuries were determined to be more severe than the on-site crew first believed.
Martinez had a long criminal history, police reported, including convictions for burglary, criminal mischief, possession of drug paraphernalia, felony fraud, theft and interfering with a police officer. On April 9, two days after Martinez was hospitalized, West Valley City police filed a shoplifting charge against Martinez, claiming he took a watch from a Walmart on March 19.
Capt. Jeff Kendrick, who presented the body camera footage at a news conference Monday, said that the Salt Lake City police have responded to 922 reports of domestic violence so far in 2019.
Police urged anyone caught in a domestic-violence situation to call them at 801-799-3000 and ask for a victim advocate, or call the departments 24-hour hotline, at 801-580-7969. People can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or the Utah LINKLine, at 1-800-897-5465 for confidential assistance.
SALT LAKE CITY — Shortly after Salt Lake police officers arrested a man April 7 for investigation of domestic violence, he fell off a two-story apartment building while officers escorted him to the patrol car and later died of his injuries.
At a news conference Monday, the department released the 911 call that led to that encounter, as well as body camera footage showing the arrest and fall.
"Domestic violence calls are highly unpredictable and considered high-hazard calls," Salt Lake Police Capt. Jeff Kendrick said Monday. "We take domestic violence very seriously and never arrive alone," Kendrick said.
At 11:42 p.m. that day, dispatchers received a 911 call from a woman who said her boyfriend, 38-year-old Robert Martinez, had put a blanket over her face, hit her and detained her for a few hours.
During the call police say Martinez attempted to take the womans phone, and she can be heard yelling on the 911 recording.
Two officers initially responded and arrived at 204 E. Browning Ave. at 11:52 p.m. Kendrick explained Monday that Martinez refused to open the door and additional officers arrived to assist.
After about 30 minutes, Martinez opened the door and willingly allowed officers inside the apartment, Kendrick said.
Police then listened to Martinezs "side of the story," Kendrick said, and called medics to come and examine his leg after he complained of pain from a prior injury.
Medics cleared Martinez and he signed a release that acknowledged no further medical care was needed, according to Kendrick.
Martinez was then placed under arrest for investigation of unlawful detention, domestic violence related assault, aggravated assault and disruption of a communication device.
Martinez can be seen and heard crying and pleading with officers in the body camera footage. Shortly after he was handcuffed, officers walked him out of the building and told him they would go "nice and slow."
Kendrick said Martinez took about four steps down the stairs and then "unexpectedly" fell over the railing, falling from the second floor to the ground.
Kendrick said Martinez was initially unconscious, then regained consciousness and was taken to a local hospital where doctors determined his injury was more serious than first suspected.
He underwent surgery but died two weeks later on April 20 of head trauma sustained in the fall, according to Kendrick.
Police said because the injury that ultimately led to Martinezs death occurred while he was in police custody, it is considered an officer-involved critical incident. Because the video does not show any use of force, no officer has been placed on leave in relation to the incident.
The incident is under active investigation by Unified police and the Salt Lake County District Attorneys Office, according to Salt Lake police detective Greg Wilking, spokesman for the department.
Kendrick said there have been 922 reports of domestic violence to Salt Lake City Police Department in 2019 so far.
Help for people in abusive relationships can be found by contacting the YWCAs Women in Jeopardy program at 801-537-8600, or the confidential statewide Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-897-LINK (5465). Resources are also available online at udvc.org.