FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (CN) - A former South Florida policeman was sentenced to 10 years in prison Wednesday for making two teenagers run down a desolate street naked after pulling them over for a traffic violation.
In August 2016, while working for the Miccosukee Police Department, Michael Martinez pulled over the two 18-year-olds, one male and one female, for running a stop sign. After he found alcohol and a small amount of marijuana on them, he laid down an ultimatum: take your clothes off and run around, or go to jail.
The two victims testified that they stripped naked and ran on the secluded Everglades road in hopes of avoiding arrest.
According to the court records, Martinez also asked one of the teenagers for a "hand job."
Martinez, 30, pleaded not guilty and took the case to trial in October. A jury came back with a guilty verdict on counts of extortion and unlawful compensation.
Broward County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Coleman, who handed down the 10-year sentence, has ruled that the former officer can be released from custody, on a $20,000 bond, pending appeal.
Martinez's attorneys had argued for a sentence of less than four years. They claimed his behavior towards the teens was an isolated transgression, and that there was no evidence he committed other professional misconduct in the past.
In letters to the judge, Martinez's sister and other family members pleaded for a lenient sentence. His sister called him a "noble human being with a great heart, always willing to lend a helping hand."
His wife, the mother of his daughter and infant son, wrote: "The person who I've shared my life with has been found guilty of embarrassing and hurtful crimes, and quite frankly, I don't know what the truth is anymore."
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