Hyde Apologizes After Angry Traffic Stop

Todays News

Congressional candidate Martin Hyde issued a publicly apology after the Sarasota Police Department released video of a traffic stop. The body camera footage shows he threatened an officer’s job, both to her face as she wrote him a ticket and to other officers called to the scene.

“I’ve apologized to the officer in question, and now I’m apologizing to the community as a whole,” Hyde said in an extended Facebook statement. “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.”

Hyde was stopped by Officer Julia Beskin for driving 57 mph in a 40 mph zone, and was also cited for failing to produce a valid registration and for texting while driving. Body camera footage shows Hyde, immediately after Beskin walked to his window after pulling her over, began name dropping political connections and threatening her livelihood. “You are making career decisions,” Hyde told Beskin.

He also insists on her waiting until he can call a supervisor to the scene, and says he will call the police chief, city manager and mayor over the traffic stop.

“Is it your Russian immigrant status that makes you talk to people like this?” he asks her at one point. Beskin originally came to the U.S. from Latvia, speaks Russian, and has worked at the Sarasota Police Department for seven years.

Hyde, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, for his House seat, also flashed a campaign logo appearing on his cell phone case, before he started filming her while shouting “You’re lying” repeatedly. “You’re talking to a congressional candidate like this?” he said.

Buchanan’s campaign declined to comment on the situation.

Later, body cam footage from another offer who responded to the scene shows Hyde complaining to other police. “We’re going to make sure she pays the price for being disrespectful,” he said.

Hyde has run twice for Sarasota City Commission unsuccessfully, and had picked up endorsements from the local Police Benevolent Association. He has trailed Buchanan in fundraising, though he’s pickup up some prominent endorsements from right-wing figures like Roger Stone and Michael Flynn. Both worked with former President Donald Trump’s political campaigns, though Trump has endorsed Buchanan.

The brouhaha with the traffic stop appears to have delivered political consequences to Hyde’s campaign. The Republican Club of Longboat Key previously planned to bring in Hyde as a speaker on March 8, but after news of the stop broke, the club sent a new invitation out stating a new guest speaker would be announced.

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