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Ex-officer facing charges for kneeling on Black woman’s neck

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — A former Florida police officer was charged Thursday with battery and misconduct for allegedly kneeling on a Black woman’s neck outside a Miami-area strip club months ago.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said in a news release that former Miami Gardens police officer Yanes Martel turned himself in Thursday. It wasn’t immediately clear if he has a lawyer to represent him.

According to the department, the 30-year-old Martel was working off duty in January at Tootsie’s Cabaret when the manager asked him to give the woman a trespass warning after she threw a tip at a waitress.

Authoriteis say the woman, whose name was not released, tried later to drive away from the club but was stopped. The FDLE says the woman was “forcibly removed from her vehicle” by Martel, who later knelt on her neck and used a stun gun on her. The department didn’t say how long the officer allegedly knelt on the woman’s neck.

“The victim suffered numerous cuts and bruises as well as abrasions on her stomach,” the FDLE report said.

“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.

Added Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle: “We cannot, and will not, tolerate such actions in this community, just as we will not tolerate the victimization of the truth in our search for justice.”

The FDLE said Martel was being held on $6,000 bond in a Miami jail.

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