St. Paul mayor urges council candidate Martinez to drop out of race after topless photo post
ST. PAUL — St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter has asked David Martinez to immediately drop out of the city council race after the Ward 4 candidate's recent behavior made headlines and stirred controversy.
In a span of three days earlier this month, Martinez was accused of domestic abuse, ejected and banned from Target Field and arrested and banned from St. Paul public libraries. And on Saturday, it appears Martinez posted a topless photo of his estranged wife on his campaign website in response to being served a restraining order.
"David Martinez's behavior is disturbing and has no place in our city. 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," Carter said in a statement released over the weekend.
The photograph posted on his campaign website appears to be connected to a restraining order Meredith Martinez sought against her husband in connection with an altercation July 4 at the couple's Hewitt Avenue home in St. Paul.
David Martinez wrote in a blog post under the photo that he had been served with a restraining order demanding he stay away from his wife.
Meredith Martinez said Saturday she was aware of the picture and was working with her attorney.
St. Paul police spokesman Steve Linders said Sunday that a report about the photo has been taken and the matter was being investigated.
"There are steps that the investigators have to take in order for (the picture) to be taken down," he said. "It's a process, but our investigators are working on it."
Carter wasn't the only one calling for Martinez to step aside.
One of the other candidates for the council seat, Shirley Erstad, released the following statement Sunday:
"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."
Erstad, Martinez, and the third candidate for the seat, Mitra Nelson, are all Ward 4 candidates for an August 14 special election. They are scheduled to participate in a candidates' forum Wednesday at the University of St. Thomas.
"We're reviewing the situation," said Doug Hennes, vice president of the government relations at the university.
John Krenik, chair of the St. Paul Republican Party, called Martinez's most recent actions "shocking."
"I call upon Mr. Martinez to do the right thing and drop out of the race for St. Paul City Council and to get the professional mental health help that he needs before he hurts anyone else!" Krenik said in a press release.
According to the restraining order documents on his website, Meredith Martinez said that during the July 4 altercation her husband "put both of his hands around my neck and pushed me backwards into a shelving unit with his hands still gripped around my neck."
On July 5, David Martinez was banned from the city's public library system for a month following his arrest at the downtown George Latimer Central Library.
The next day, July 6, he was ejected from Target Field and banned from the ballpark for a year following a physical confrontation with security.
Meredith Martinez added that on July 11, he brought home several canisters of mace and a pellet gun, telling her that people were threatening him.
The couple work on the same floor of the Minnesota Department of Health building. He is ordered to stay away from her at work, according to the document.
Several people posted on his campaign's Facebook page asking him to get help and scolding him for his behavior.
"Yikes ... not a good look to be posting nudes of your ex," one person wrote. "I was on board but am now out. Get some help dude."
Another person asked him to "please take down the photo," saying, "if not for her, please do it for your children."
Martinez did not respond to phone calls.
"My attorney has advised me not to say anything further," he said on his website.