Keys politician arrested in Hialeah on domestic violence charge, says he has drug problem

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A Florida Keys elected official was arrested Tuesday in Hialeah on a charge of domestic violence battery after his wife told police he struck her in the face with an empty pill bottle he threw during a rage.

Monroe County Commissioner Eddie Martinez was jailed at the Miami-Dade Detention and Rehabilitation Center. His bond was set at $1,500.

His arrest and picture remained on the detention center’s website Wednesday. It was unclear whether he has an attorney in this case or has been released from jail.

Martinez denied hitting his wife, Maria, and said he struggles with prescription pain medication, police said.

Martinez, 46, was arrested after police went to a Hialeah home at 9:55 a.m. Tuesday in response to a 911 call about a man with post-traumatic stress disorder “very violent inside the home,” according to the arrest report.

At the home, his 46-year-old wife told officers he woke up in a rage over an incident at a bar the night before.

This wasn’t the first time he has become violent, she said.

“The victim claims she has dealt with the domestic violence for years but failed to report the incidents hoping he would quit his prescription drug abuse,” the arrest report states. Martinez has been struggling with prescription pain medication abuse for some time, she told police.

Martinez suffers from many physical ailments and PTSD, she said, and that when he “runs out of his medication, he turns extremely violent and batters her,” police reported.

The couple’s 13-year-old daughter told police she saw her father throw an empty pill bottle at her mother “like a baseball,” striking her on the left side of her face. She then hid in a bathroom and called 911.

The girl said Martinez “struggles with prescription drug abuse and becomes regularly violent.” She said some of the violence comes from his PTSD but she doesn’t believe that was the case in Tuesday’s incident.

The girl has seen him hurt her mother before and that once he pushed her grandmother to the ground “in one of his drug-induced episodes,” police reported, and he has been physically and emotionally abusive to her and her sisters.

Eddie Martinez did not return a text message Wednesday morning for comment.

Martinez spoke with police after his arrest, and denied throwing things or hitting his wife. He said he struggles with prescription drugs.

He “refused to say his daughters were lying,” but had no explanation for why two of his daughters said he threw the pill bottle at their mother’s face.

The couple’s 15-year-old daughter told police she saw her father throw a pill bottle at her mother’s face. She also said he has been abusive in the past and that she has performed CPR on him many times “when he overdosed on prescription drugs.”

County officials had no details about the arrest Wednesday morning, said spokeswoman Kristen Livengood.

“Monroe County officials were made aware that Monroe County Commissioner Eddie Martinez was arrested in Miami-Dade County for alleged battery/domestic violence yesterday,” Livengood wrote in a statement. “We are unaware of any repercussions at this time as he goes through due process. Monroe County is closely monitoring the process.”

Martinez’s wife said the night before she left him at a bar “because he was drinking and became argumentative.”

They went home separately. When Martinez arrived, he began insulting her and then fell asleep, she said.

On Tuesday morning, she said Martinez awoke in a rage about the bar incident and started throwing things all over the room.

“They both started yelling at one another and the victim said she was struck by boxes and a drawer during the commotion,” according to the arrest report. “Her children came out of a room and that is when she felt a strike to the left side of her face.”

Martinez was arrested at a Hialeah home but has previously said he lives in Key West, where he must to represent Monroe County’s District 3. Martinez, a Republican, narrowly defeated the Democratic incumbent Heather Carruthers for the District 3 County Commission seat to represent part of Key West.

Carruthers says that Martinez did not live in the district on Nov. 3, 2020, Election Day.

By the end of November 2020, she had filed a lawsuit in Monroe County court against Martinez, the supervisor of elections and the county canvassing board, asking for him to be removed from office and certify that she won the commission seat.

The lawsuit is pending.

The race was so close that a recount was ordered. It showed Martinez winning by 142 votes, taking 50.15% of the vote while Carruthers had 49.85%.

He said he rode the “red wave” that swept through the Keys, giving Republicans wins across the board in the partisan races.

Where does Martinez live?

The address listed in the police report is owned by Georgina Martinez, according to the Miami-Dade Property Appraiser’s website. The homeowner could not be reached Wednesday.

Eddie Martinez said during the election that he had been living on Truman Avenue in Key West where he also had an office, according to filings in the civil suit brought by Carruthers.

In an affidavit dated Aug. 19, 2021, Martinez said he moved to the Truman Avenue address on Feb. 27, 2020, and then on Nov. 5, 2020 — two days after the election — he moved to Simonton Street in Key West. Both addresses are in Monroe County’s District 3.

Martinez also said that in 2020 he was admitted at various hospitals 19 times. He had surgery on a shoulder and gallbladder surgery that left complications and required additional surgeries. The hospitals were in Tavernier, Hialeah and Miami.

Martinez said he often needed visiting nurse care so he stayed in Key Largo, where his wife was at the time, to be closer to hospitals in Tavernier and on the mainland.

In January 2021, Martinez was involved in a domestic dispute at the Simonton Street address where he said he lived. The incident ended with his stepdaughter, Natalie Guerra, going to jail after police said she hit Martinez twice in the head.

In Guerra’s arrest report, Key West police listed Martinez’s home address as a place in Key Haven, which is in unincorporated Monroe, about a mile from the island of Key West and a quarter-mile from the city limits near a golf course on Stock Island. Guerra said she was separating Martinez and her fiance, Jeffrey Torres, who were fighting. She told police she was “smacking them away,” according to the arrest report.

She faces a misdemeanor battery charge that is pending in criminal court in Monroe.

The January argument was over Guerra coming to the Martinez home to pick up her two sisters and take them to Homestead so they didn’t have to watch their parents argue anymore, police reported.

Martinez, who said he was kicking Guerra and Torres out of his home, told police he did not want to press charges.

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