Editor & Publisher
Martin Hyde is ubiquitous in Sarasota City politics. Most every issue features Hyde rebuffing the Commission with scathing comments steeped in frustration.
Most recently, Hyde announced his running as a candidate to unseat Republican congressman Vern Buchanan in Florida’s 16th congressional district on a platform of protecting the 2nd amendment and term limits. He describes himself as “A former professional soccer player, a driven local business owner, and father of four boys.”
But last Valentine’s Day, an incident wherein he threatened a police officer with her career after he was pulled over for speeding and texting has gone viral on social media and he has apparently put his campaign on pause.
It started with a traffic stop for speeding.
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 warning the officer: “You are making career decisions.”
Hyde eventually made her call in a supervisor.
Hyde: I’ll just call the chief. How’s that?
Officer: Go right ahead, sir.
Hyde: Can I see you. You know who I am, right?
Officer: Yes, sir, I do.
Later, the officer asked for Hyde’s license and registration, to which Hyde asked, “Are you going to do this?
“Yes, sir,” the officer replied.
Hyde asked the officer, “Is it your Russian immigration status that makes you talk to people like this?” adding, “call the supervisor.”
As they waited for her supervisor to arrive, Hyde mentioned that he knows the chief of police, the mayor, and the city administrator, and then let her know he’s running for office.
“You’re talking to a congressional candidate like this,” Hyde said, holding up his cell phone, which has, a case printed with “Hyde 2022.”
The Sarasota police officer’s body camera recorded as the Republican congressional candidate insulted her and threatened her job during the traffic stop. Hyde now says his actions were “belligerent and rude” and has issued the following statement:
“Just over a week ago I was stopped in Sarasota for speeding. During the stop I was belligerent and rude to the officer who stopped me. Much interest has been shown in local media and many comments made as to my behavior. I’m not going to justify my poor temper on that day or attempt to mitigate it in any way. There will be some who will say it’s not the first time I’ve acted out and they’d be right. I have faults and one of them is to be overly aggressive on occasion when I’m challenged. In the political arena that is possibly a good thing but on a personal level it’s not. I’ve apologized to the officer in question, and now I’m apologizing to the community as a whole. 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 offence caused to anyone.” — Martin Hyde
A two-time Sarasota City Commission candidate, Hyde had previously picked up endorsements from the local Police Benevolent Association. The story picked up coverage in national news sources including HuffPost and Newsweek.
Hyde’s Facebook page “Martin Hyde Sarasota Citizen” was not available to the public Thursday.
Last Friday morning, in a letter published by the Herald-Tribune, the signature line at the bottom reads: “Martin Hyde is a Sarasota businessman and a former Republican Party candidate for Florida’s 16th Congressional District.”
Hyde has mostly self-funded his campaign for Congress against incumbent Buchanan. The candidate had loaned his campaign $164,000, and spent much of it on consulting with former Donald Trump associate Roger Stone. Trump ultimately endorsed Buchanan.
For the moment, Hyde’s federal campaign accounts remain open and his official campaign website remains live.