ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Police are investigating a city council candidate after a semi-nude photo of a woman, believed to be his wife, was posted to his campaign website.
David Martinez is running for city council in St. Paul’s fourth ward.
Mayor Melvin Carter is asking him to remove himself from the race after a tumultuous month of July for Martinez culminated this weekend with the police investigation.
“David Martinez’s behavior is disturbing and has no place in our city,” Carter said. “I wish the best to his family and our entire community as we heal from the harm his acts have caused. He should drop out of the city council race immediately.”
WCCO called Martinez but didn’t get a response. Late Sunday evening, his campaign website was shut down.
“It’s gotten worse and worse. Everyday there’s something new about David Martinez,” said Kiki Sonnen, a homeowner in Ward 4.
The most recent incident Sonnen was referencing involves Martinez’s campaign website.
In the blog section, a topless photo supposedly of his wife was posted. Below it was a link to the restraining order from her against him.
In the restraining order, she alleges that on July 4 Martinez put his hands around her neck and threw her into a shelving unit.
The next day at George Latimer Central Library in downtown St. Paul, Martinez got in an altercation with staff and had to be removed by police. Library administrators banned him for a month.
On July 5, he was kicked out of Target Field. A cellphone video, which Martinez shared on his blog, shows him refusing to leave before security staff forcibly remove him.
“I don’t know what led up to it, depression or mental illness or what, but he’s gotta get some help and I hope he turns his life around,” Sonnen said. She originally had one of Martinez’s campaign signs in her yard, but removed it. She said several of her neighbors also removed their signs bearing his name.
“I was willing to give him my second vote. We have ranked choice in St. Paul,” she said.
The candidates running against Martinez, Mitra Nelson and Shirley Erstad, also released statements calling for Martinez to drop out of the race.
Nelson said Martinez’s actions violate respect.
“Yesterday, candidate for Ward 4 City Council David Martinez appears to have posted a topless photo that he claimed to be of his wife online, along with what he said is a restraining order she filed against him. These acts violate our most deeply-held values about basic human respect, if not our laws.
“It also follows a string of public incidents involving Mr. Martinez in which his combative behavior resulted in him being ejected from two different public spaces. This pattern of behavior calls into serious question his judgement and ability to serve in public office at this time.
“Based on these actions, I am calling on Mr. Martinez to drop out of the Ward 4 race. I am also calling for this harmful post to be removed from his website immediately. I strongly encourage him to suspend his campaign and focus instead on getting the support he needs to get him through this difficult time.
“This is an election in which our residents will be deciding on new leadership for the future of our city. I remain focused on our campaign to represent the people of Ward 4; to defend the rights and dignity of all people within it; and to hold up the critical issues facing our city.”
Erstad also called for Martinez to suspend his campaign.
“I know how terrifying it is to be threatened in the way Mrs. Martinez describes and my heart goes out to her and their children. As a woman and mother of three daughters, I am all too aware of the repercussions of sexual exploitation and violence against women and the consequences when good people stand by and say nothing.
“I support Mayor Carter’s position. Mr. Martinez’s actions against his family and the broader community are completely unacceptable and disqualify him from holding public office.”
Ward 4 residents say Martinez should focus on personal issues rather than continuing a city council campaign.
“If it was me, I would definitely drop out right away to take some of the spotlight off my family,” said Ward 4 resident Derek Barlow. “It just appears to me that there’s definitely some personal issues that need to be dealt with before one could obviously throw himself into serving the public.”
As for the topless photo post, a St. Paul police spokesman said the department’s Family and Sexual Violence Unit is investigating the case as possible revenge porn.