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Oakland Police Department Pays for Bad Behavior, Again

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An Oakland Police Department officer and once-Rookie of the Year “slapped” a child and the city is about to foot the legal bill. Add that to the other four settlements payed out for police misconduct and vehicle accidents in this year alone, and OPD is really batting a thousand.

The city of Oakland is expected to pay up to the tune of $60,000 to settle a 2016 case where a police officer is accused of punching a 14-year-old girl during an arrest. Although the city attorneys adamantly deny that officer Anthony Martinelli “brutally punched” the child, they do admit he laid hands on her, in the form of an open-hand slap “only to grab her attention, not to injure her.”

Oakland Police Department. Photo courtesy of ABC7

One major sticking point to this whole despicable scenario is that the young girl was not a suspect, she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. The story goes that police responded to a shooting at a house in Oakland where they identified a suspect, Shaun Williams, Sr., inside. As they were trying to secure the area and make their arrest, Williams’s wife pulled up in her car and approached the home despite officers’ demands to stop. The wife, Miesha Singleton, was taken arrested alongside Williams.

However, two of Singleton’s children were still inside the car. Officers initially told the 14-year-old girl she could remain inside the vehicle and watch after her younger brother during the drama. At some point, they changed their minds and demanded that the girl exit the car, which she refused. Let’s remember here that this was a 14-year-old child watching her mother be arrested – she was likely scared and angry, but one thing she wasn’t was the damn suspect. Which makes the next part of the story even more horrendous.

Both sides agree that Martinelli pulled the child out of the car by force. While one officer attempted to cuff her, she raged against them and posed questions they were uncomfortable with, wherein Martinelli decided that striking the girl in the face was the best possible solution to “distract and detain her.” Why she was being detained in the first place is still very unclear.

Officer Martinelli is no stranger to controversy and does not seem averse to scaring the shit out of children, as is highlighted by another 2014 incident. In that case, as ABC7 reported, he threatened an off-duty firefighter and his two young sons while they stopped to check up on the unlocked station on the way home from a Raiders game. Martinelli kept his hand on his gun, ready to draw, while the 9 and 12-year-old boys stood frightened with their hands in the air.

The next year after the fire station situation and subsequent complaint, Martinelli was named Rookie of the Year in 2015, because…of course he was.

Swearing in new officers to Oakland Police Department in 2013. Photo courtesy of SFGate

The city of Oakland is scheduled to finalize the $60,000 settlement for the 2016 case Tuesday. We’re guessing (hoping) Martinelli won’t be seeing a holiday bonus this year; however, the city website still lists him as an active Oakland Police officer.

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Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Journalist, editor, student, single mom to a pack of wolves, foodie, music lover, resident smart ass, and champion of vulgarity and human kindness.