POLICE: Lawyer’s arrest on video

Simple vehicle stop quickly goes downhill

Michelle Monroe

By Michelle Monroe

Executive Editor

Just
The Facts

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“Well, well, well you missed all the fun.”

- Peter Martin

ST. ALBANS — Police video and documents provided to the St. Albans Messenger show how an ordinary traffic stop last week degenerated into a physical altercation, which further disintegrated into the use of ethnic and homophobic slurs.

Local attorney Peter J.R. Martin, 74, was stopped by Officer Mike Malinowski of the St. Albans Police Dept. (SAPD) Thursday, June 12, at 5:30 p.m. for having tinted windows, which are not legal in Vermont. The incident occurred on Lake Road near Cherry Street at St. Albans Bay. Martin was subsequently charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He has pleaded not guilty.

A nine-minute police video taken by a camera on Malinowski’s cruiser shows an ordinary police stop.

Malinowski explains why he has stopped Martin, asks for his license, registration and insurance.

They have a brief conversation in which Martin objects to the law, pointing out he could purchase a new car with tinted windows included.  During this conversation, Martin says to Malinowski, “You’re just doing your job.”

Martin also says, “I have eye conditions, not that you care.”

Malinowski answers, “Unfortunately, Vermont doesn’t recognize that.”

They discuss Martin’s military service, and Malinowksi asks if Martin is still on active duty. He is not.

Malinowski returns to his cruiser and spends several minutes verifying Martin’s license and registration.

He then returns to the car and presents Martin with the ticket, explaining he offers everyone receiving such a ticket the opportunity to remove the tinting. “If you do take it off and you come back to the office and show me you don’t have it on, I’ll void the ticket,” Malinowski says.

“It’s not your fault; you didn’t write the law,” Martin tells him.

Martin asks after Malinowski’s ethnicity and the officer replies his name is Polish.

“All right sir, hope you have a better day, okay,” Malinowski says, and Martin replies, “Adios.”

Malinowski starts back toward his car, and Martin attempts to drive off, but ends up farther off the side of the road. “It doesn’t look like it,” Martin says, apparently in reply to Malinowski having wished him a better day.

Malinowksi offers to call a wrecker.

The altercation

A second video picks up after the wrecker has arrived. Martin is standing outside his vehicle. The tow truck operator, identified in court documents as Todd St. Pierre, is preparing to tow the vehicle.

Malinowski is on the radio, describing the situation to someone. Martin, he reports, is unwilling to have St. Pierre tow the car because he’s going to have to pay for it himself.

“He’s saying he’s going to sue them,” Malinowski reports, as he walks toward where Martin is attempting to stop St. Pierre from attaching chains to his car.

According to a statement provided by St. Pierre, Martin began to protest when St. Pierre said they could not bill Martin’s insurance directly and he would have to ask the insurer to reimburse him.

As Martin continues to object to having the car towed, the officer says, “I said I’m going to get a wrecker and you said, ‘Thank you very much.”

At this point, St. Pierre is attaching chains to the car. Martin says, “I don’t want him towing it. Take if off of there.”

Malinowski asks Martin to step away from St. Pierre and Martin replies, “No … arrest me.”

Martin evidently touches St. Pierre, because Malinowski says, “Don’t touch him,” to which Martin replies, “I’m not going to touch him. Arrest me.”

When Malinowski asks why, Martin says, “Because I’m going to take it off of there and if he gets in my way I’m going to push him out of the way.”

St. Pierre returns to his truck at this time, and Martin puts his hands behind his back, encouraging Malinowski to cuff him.

“Why are you being difficult?” Malinowski asks. “All you have to do is pay the gentleman.”

“I’m sick of you people,” Martin says, leading to the following exchange with Malinowski.

“Doing what? Doing our jobs?”

“That’s what you might think. I don’t think so. My German-American uncle died fighting Nazis in World War II. I will not tolerate you people.”

St. Pierre approaches the driver’s side of the car.

Malinowski advises Martin to back away from the car, saying, “I don’t want you getting hurt.”

Martin reiterates his demand to be arrested, referring to the chains, “Take this (expletive deleted) thing off my car.”

St. Pierre opens the door to the car, and Martin says, “Get out of my car.” He attempts to grab St. Pierre.

Malinowski intervenes and a short scuffle ensues in which Martin fell to the ground, hitting his head.

Malinowski draws his Taser and points it at Martin, who is prone on the ground, saying, “Do you want to get tased?”

He then notices Martin’s Smith and Wesson .38 Special on the ground next to Martin. Saying repeatedly, “Step away from the gun,” Malinowksi uses his foot to push Martin onto his back in the opposite direction of the gun.

“I’m not stepping anywhere. I’m on my back,” Martin says.

After moving the gun out of reach, Malinowski orders Martin onto his stomach. Martin instead tries to rise and Malinowski pushes him onto his stomach and cuffs him. Once Martin is secure, Malinowski empties the bullets from Martin’s weapon.

The officer asks whether Martin has anything else which can hurt him and Martin replies “Only the truth.”

Martin says he has a heart condition, and Malinowski calls for an ambulance before assisting Martin to his feet. As he searches Martin, Martin says, “You’re a disgrace as an American.” He also tells the officer, “We’re going to have fun now.”

As Malinowski is searching him, the two men have the following exchange:

“How did you cut your face? Did that happen when you rolled over?” Malinowksi asks.

“You threw me on the ground.”

“Yeah, because you resisted.”

“That’s right,” Martin says.

Sgt. Frank McCarty arrived just as Malinowski was leading a bloodied Martin back to his car. “Well, well, well you missed all the fun,” Martin tells McCarty.

The aftermath

McCarty instructed Malinowski to take Martin to St. Albans Town Hall where he could be seen by ambulance personnel. He then gathered up the gun and bullets and a knife Malinowski found while searching Martin, and secures them in his vehicle.

McCarty caught up with Martin at Northwestern Medical Center. According to his affidavit, Martin looked at McCarty’s nametag and said, “McCarty, you’re Irish like me, but you’re a disgraceful Irishman.”

He also overheard Martin tell his wife, “I got thrown to the ground by that little polack.” According to McCarty, Martin kept up his derogatory comments, calling the officers, “Nazi (expletive deleted) cops and nervous little faggots.”

The previous stop

This is not the first public altercation between Martin and St. Albans police. Martin also used homophobic slurs and sexist language during a March 2011 traffic stop.

Martin and his wife were departing a restaurant when a female officer stopped them for a burned out taillight. The stop became public knowledge when Martin wrote a letter to the editor of the Messenger about it.

The officer, Marie Beland, reported she had smelled alcohol and asked Martin if he had been drinking. He said he had not, but refused to step from the car for a roadside sobriety test, according to SAPD Chief Gary Taylor, who responded to Martin’s letter with his own accounting of events.

Ultimately, Martin was physically removed from the car and arrested by SAPD officers. During the arrest, Taylor reported Martin called a male officer “homo” and asked him “if he was some sort of faggot.” Taylor did not report the specific slurs directed at Officer Beland.

According to police, Martin also said, “We need to stop having little ladies running around on the police force.”

Martin had not been drinking and no charges were filed in the case.

  • mattinvt

    Mr. Martin is in serious need of attitude adjustment. ‘Nuff said.

    Beyond that, there’s a consistency problem. The article itself says the incident took place on Lake Road near Cherry Street, easily recognizable in the video, with St. Albans Bay Town Park over Officer Malinowski’s right shoulder. In fact, I recall driving past this spot during the described events, seeing the cruiser behind Martin’s car, and assumed it was simply an officer stopping to assist someone who had moved too far to the right.

    Contrary to what is described above, the title slide of the video says the arrest took place on Maquam Shore Road, which, according to every online map I can access, starts at Hathaway Point Road. That’s roughly 4,000 feet (about 3/4 of a mile) west of where the incident actually took place.

    • Joe Mamma

      I find it funny that you spend sentence on this heinous individual and 2 full paragraphs on giving us a run down on the exact location. No mention of the fact this guy is batshit crazy and is carrying guns. The cop and tow truck driver are lucky to be unharmed. This man needs more than an “attitude adjustment”….. but thanks for giving us such a detailed account of where this actually took place.

  • Kira Martel

    Things to consider: The video tape had to be released by City PD and the video is cut by about 5 minutes. People need to be aware of the fact that the police selectively turn on their video and audio so that the only evidence is their account of what happened. The courts have not recognized a duty to collect evidence of a person’s innocence. The defendant’s are typically told that they cannot make statements to the press in their defense because any misconstrued statements may be held against them. This happens everyday!!!! Police will stop someone for speeding (sometimes only 4 miles over the speed limit) and extend the arrest into a full blow search of the vehicle. The officer will ask for your registration proof of insurance, while your getting that information (better do it fast, if your having trouble finding it ..”based on their experience and training its a sign of intoxication”. While your looking for your information, the officer starts in with “have you been drinking”, is there anything in the car I should be worried about?” “guns? knives? drugs” then “oaky let me just run your license” (if they have the LPR they already know when they stop you what your record is) and depending on whether or not you say “yeah I had a beer at my mother’s bar b q four hours ago”. Typically, the officer will go back to the cruiser and tell dispatch that they will be out screening. If you are an older person you may be released. If your a younger person, it may turn into “so I’m not going to find any drugs in that car?” At this point two scenarios are possible if the officer want to search your vehicle, 1) well you can either let me search your car or we can wait for the drug dog to get up here” and then I can search your car” (how long will it take? hours to get the dog up here) or 2) well if you don’t let me search I will have the car towed back to the barracks and apply for a warrant (once at the station they are allowed to do an inventory search with a warrant). Usually by this point you do not have a lot of viable options (voluntary my a**). The officers don’t tell you that they can’t extend a stop from speeding into a drug dog sniff without further probable cause of drugs in the car, or that my understanding is that if they tow the car and nothing is in it they have to pay the tow bill. The person consents to the search for lack of funds, time pressure or just because its and officer and if I do not consent they will think I’m hiding something. More recently, the officer will recite the consent to search card and include “this includes any bags or CEL PHONES, COMPUTERS”. Typically, depending on the department (and individual officers, deputy sherrifs), the officer walks up to the car with their audio turned off, when they want to collect evidence against you they turn it on. This way, the only evidence to this conversation is their word against yours in court and we know who is going to be believed. People believe that if they have nothing to hide then they won’t be susceptible to these issues so they batter people in these kinds of situations. Again, if you had the knowledge of the law, such as Peter Martin, you would be arguing with the officer regarding your rights. This of course would result in a power play with the officer and you will end up with resisting arrest, assault on a police officer etc. In the same situation, I would have argued that your harassing me about a law that it not enforced across the board (like hanging objects) and knowing the last time the City Police harassed Peter Martin over a “bulb” in the the third break light being out would be consistent with harassment. Maybe the messenger should reprint the articles written back and forth between Peter Martin and Chief Taylor, Dan Albert and Mrs. Martin. Let’s be fair and give context to the current situation. ALSO BE AWARE!! Although the police agencies have signed contracts and made policies around the use of the LPR that state that they will not input into the LPR agency “tags” on a vehicle with out the supervisors permission, the capability is there. An officer can enter your license plate and put a “tag” on your car and then remove it at the end of the night. So watch out if your ex wife’s friends with a police officer or sheriff. I should also make it known that there are some really good officers that can de-escalate instead of escalate a situation. If your one of the good ones, that follow the law, and believe in collecting all the evidence “in the pursuit of justice”…thank you!!!

    • happyinflorida

      It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the video is “cut” because it’s shortened for those of us watching on the internet. And, cops cannot – and do not – turn their recorders on and off at will – NOT if they want to keep their jobs. Geesh…

      • 108

        Wow – you are truly an ignorant SOB. “cops cannot – and do not – turn their recorders on and off at will” is about the most mindless statement you could have made. Officers are in complete control of when their video recorders are recording and not. lol It depends on the police department, but I know of zero departments in the US which do not allow officers discretion with regard to what incidents they do and do not choose to record. In fact, that’s precisely the problem with dash-cams in police cruisers – they rarely capture events that put the officer(s) in a bad light. Police cameras are NOT there for public safety; They are there for the DA to use as evidence against those suspected of committing a crime. The police are NOT your friend. They are a necessary part of a civil society, and as such I support and respect them in their roles, but it is NOT their job to look out for your rights. That’s not part of their job description. Their job is to enforce the law.

  • BernieWard

    Not liking this article at all…looks like a setup to me.

    • happyinflorida

      Oh, yeah, and the twin towers never fell down, and the world is really flat too…Oh, and we never put a man on the moon either. ROFLMAFAO!!

  • happyinflorida

    The video is only “edited” for those of us watching it on the internet. Do you really want to watch for over a 1/2 hour (waiting for a tow truck, etc.)??? The full video will be shown in court – you can bet – and I can already guarantee the officer will be vindicated. This lawyer is a scumbag.

    • 108

      WRONG. The tow truck driver had no right whatsoever to tow the vehicle “for non-payment”. Towing companies have not legally provided a service until they have engaged in the activity of actually towing a vehicle. Showing up doesn’t count; Nor does attempting to connect the towing apparatus to a vehicle. In addition, there must be a verbal or written/signed contract and agreement on fees involved, so all bets are off for this tow truck driver and police officer. The officer had no right to demand the old man pay the tow truck driver. That in concert with the officers threatening attitude, both verbal and physical, constituted an legally actionable case of false imprisonment. The officer had no right to prevent the old man from taking any legal actions necessary to prevent the tow truck driver from towing his car against his wishes, and, in fact, was actually legally obligated to assist the old man in preventing the tow truck driver from illegally towing his vehicle. That alone constitutes dereliction of duty, among other things, on the part of the police officer.

      In light of these facts, any physical force used by the officer against the old man in the context of these events as they actually unfolded would be found to be a violation of the old man’s civil rights. In other words, the fact that the officer and tow truck driver were both in the wrong with regard to their respective actions in the situation invalidates any legal argument against the old man for his actions and leaves them legally culpable for their actions.

      Next…

      • IIDON

        If its stuck on the side of the road blocking traffic it has to be towed DUHHHHHHHHHH

      • yup

        If it’s on the SIDE of the road it’s not IN the road blocking traffic is it?

        Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh!

  • happyinflorida

    Why couldn’t he call ANOTHER tow company?? Because the officer is NOT a concierge! If the idiot did NOT object when the officer offered to call a wrecker in the first place, then he has no business objecting NOW. The wrecker showed up and he deserves to be paid – not to mention you can’t leave a car stuck on the side of the road like that (half in the road, half off). I would also imagine that it’s the DEGREE OF TINT that is at question – not just that the windows are tinted. Geesh…

    • 108

      “deserving” to be paid and being “legally entitled” to payment are two completely different things. The tow truck driver had not yet legally provided a service, and was therefore not legally entitled to payment. “Showing up” does not constitute a billable service, unless there was an agreement made, verbal or otherwise, between the old man and the towing company/driver prior to his arrival.

  • PETER

    he’s going to win in court. the tow truck driver has no right what so ever to tow his car when he refused the service.

  • Wyrd

    Mr. Martin seems kind of like a dick a little bit.

    But the part I don’t understand is: why was it required or whatever for Mr. Martin to accept that tow truck?

    Why couldn’t that part be worked out with talking and words? Was there a road hazard issue or something?

    *What?*


    Furry cows moo and decompress.

  • Tom Elmore

    “Homophobic slurs?”

    Man — the writer of this report has been “fully assimilated,” hasn’t she?

  • Mitch

    The car was not blocking traffic, and the cop was “doing his job” alright, It did appear to me that he was doing it a little bit too much. I was wondering was he related to the guy doing the towing? is it a scam? All of this for tinted windows? Is this nazi germany? Did someone think the wrong thing or say the wrong thing? It appears there is more to this, is there history to this? I read in a comment about Mr Martin having had some history with the police in the area and through experience know that if you get on the wrong side of one policeman they will make you pay. I heard my pa say on more than one occasion he and the boys were going to “get someone sorted” they didn’t like or who had annoyed them. And yes they CAN turn off their radios, so the person who thinks they cannot is talking through their nether regions.

  • michael

    The cop caused ALL of this problem. Why do we want public servants harassing our good citizens? I dont live in that state but in my state plenty of people have tinted car windows, so why should that state be different? Why should that be a crime there and not here? All of this would not have happened if it weren’t for the asshole cop. We need to start questioning what we want as a society. We dont want overly-aggressive law enforcement for starters and people need to remember that is OUR choice, not Big Brother. Cut them down!

  • nicole

    with the behavior of most Police–we all should be armed to the teeth.