In Tampa, Florida, a bus company employee helped two officers restrain a suspect, but his employer investigated him because of a misunderstanding. Tim Martin, a HART transit supervisor, thought he was going to lose his job, according to ABC Action News.
Surveillance video obtained by the outlet shows an April 26 incident in which two cops tried to handcuff the suspect near a bus transit center. Things turned sour when the suspect appeared to overpower them. He shoved both to the ground, and punched one in the face, police said, then he allegedly pulled on an officer’s gun four times.
Footage depicts Martin, wearing a white shirt, intervening after both cops hit the ground. He approached from the suspect’s rear, and grabbed him, police said. Other good Samaritans then arrived.
“The first thing that really turned things in our favor was when he came in and put a bear hug on the guy and we really applaud him for doing that,” said Tampa Police Department spokesman Steve Hegarty. Now Martin will be getting an award from cops.
Then came the letter. His employers at HART transit told him they were investigating him, and that he could face disciplinary action.
John Sholtes, his union rep. with Teamsters Local 79, talked to ABC.
“He’s concerned for his job,” he said. “He’s been put on investigation. He doesn’t know where this is going to lead and he doesn’t know if his employer is going to try and terminate him at this point, so he’s obviously quite concerned.” Sholtes said he didn’t understand why Martin was being probed over a heroic act.
The outlet spoke with a HART representative who said Martin was being investigated over a “communication gap.”
“There was a stretch of time we did not hear from our transit supervisor, so we don’t know if his life could’ve been in danger, something could’ve happened, so we needed to know what had happened around that stretch of time,” said HART spokesperson Sandra Morrison.
The investigation has since wrapped up, and Martin gets to keep his job.
“There’s no disciplinary action going to be taken, we are going to be speaking to him just to make sure that if ever there’s an event like this in the future that there’s proper communication.” This incident will be used to train other supervisors from now on.
[Screengrab via ABC Action News]