Florida just knows how to pick ‘em. A Republican congressional candidate from Florida has made his rounds on Twitter for not only arguing but allegedly threatening police officials. Running for election to the House of Representatives to represent Florida's 16th Congressional District, Martin Hyde not only argued with a police officer who pulled him over but targeted the officer’s background. Body camera footage of the incident, which occurred on Feb. 14, has gone viral on social media, with many criticizing Hyde.
“You are making career decisions,” the Sarasota Republican threatened Officer Julia Beskin. According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Beskin had pulled over Hyde for speeding and texting while driving. During the stop, Beskin also cited Hyde for the failure to produce a valid registration.
According to Florida Politics, Hyde has been flooded with voicemails in regard to his behavior. He told Florida Politics last week he apologized to Beskin after the incident— but that doesn’t take away from the attitude he had. Clearly, he thinks he is better than others and deserved special treatment because he is running for Congress.
But while Hyde allegedly tried to downplay what happened during the traffic stop, footage shared on Feb. 23 further details the encounter and raises issues.
Beskin can be seen walking over to the window after pulling over Hyde’s vehicle. The man who wrote the tweets, Ron Filipkowski, notes that she pulled over Hyde for driving 27 miles over the speed limit in a 30 mph zone.
To which Hyde responds: “You don’t need to point at me, officer. I’ll just call the chief. You know who I am, right?”
This depicts Hyde attempting to use his connections and privilege to get out of the situation, but it only gets worse.
Because Beskin gave him three tickets, Hyde threatens to call both Rex Troche, who is the city manager, and Marlon Brown, who is the city mayor.
When that doesn’t seem to faze Beskin, he resorts to targeting her identity and ethnic background.
“Is it your Russian immigrant status that makes you talk to people like this?” According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Beskin is originally from Latvia and speaks both Russian and English.
He then continues to talk over and attempt to degrade her.
“Do you think you’re winning? Do you?” Hyde says. “You’re talking to a congressional candidate like this?” He can even be heard repeatedly claiming “you’re lying” and demanding Beskin wait while he calls a supervisor to the scene.
Despite Beskin saying she will wait and asking Hyde to stay in his vehicle for his own safety, he gets out. Eventually, several police cars arrive on the scene, with some noting that Beskin’s calls over the police radio did make it seem as if Hyde was acting violent rather than simply argumentative, Florida Politics reported.
However, despite his actions, Hyde continued to play victim, claiming he was being a law-abiding citizen and Beskin should be the one facing consequences for her handling of the traffic stop.
“We’re going to make sure she pays the price for being disrespectful,” he told another officer.
It is confirmed that Hyde was the driver because Beskin specifically used his name on dispatch. “The driver is being extremely uncooperative,” she said. “Martin Hyde. I just gave him three tickets.”
Hyde, who has run for Sarasota City Commission twice and infamously attended Sarasota County School Board meetings, is known for his temper.
According to Florida Politics, in one incident it was reported that he called former Sarasota City Commission candidate Rob Grant a “f***ing d***head” unprovoked when the two crossed paths at Pastry Art.
Of course, after the backlash he faced he had to say something on social media. On his Facebook, he released the following statement.
“Just over a week ago I was stopped in Sarasota for speeding. During the stop I was belligerent and rude to the officer who stopped me. Much interest has been shown in local media and many comments made as to my behavior. I’m not going to justify my poor temper on that day or attempt to mitigate it in any way . There will be some who will say it’s not the first time I’ve acted out and they’d be right. I have faults and one of them is to be overly aggressive on occasion when I’m challenged. In the political arena that is possibly a good thing but on a personal level it’s not.
I’ve apologized to the officer in question, and now I’m apologizing to the community as a whole. I’m going to do my utmost to behave better going forward. I’m not running away though as that’s not in my nature. There is nothing more I can say, or will say on this subject other than I’m sorry for any offense caused to anyone.”
But his temper is not the only issue he apparently deals with. Hyde has faced backlash before for his racist and ignorant comments.
According to the Complex, in 2019 he allegedly told a teenage Latino tennis player to "cut grass.” But that’s not all: After the incident, he was accused of offering the teen $50,000 to delete the video footage of the incident.
"You’re telling me to cut grass because I’m Hispanic,” the player said in the video of the incident. "That’s racism, man. How can you say something like that? Aren’t you human?"
Seems like Hyde thinks paying off individuals or threatening them will hide his racist nature. Too bad—he’s wrong. He’s allegedly considered dropping out of the race before; maybe this latest backlash will confirm his worry that no one will support a bigot like him.
Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos