Derek Guy Martin
(May 21, 1958 - November 3, 2001)

WAYNESBORO, VA – Derek Guy Martin, 43, of 1612 Chatham Road, Waynesboro, VA died Saturday November 3, 2001 in New York, NY.

He was born Wednesday May 21, 1958 at Baltimore, MD, a son of Barbara E. (Thurman) Martin and the late George W. Martin.

He attended school in Lynchburg, VA until his family moved to Waynesboro, VA. He attended Waynesboro Public Schools and St. John's Catholic School, where he served as an altar boy and played drums for the folk mass. He attended Fishburne Military School and was a member of the varsity football team. He graduated from Waynesboro High School, where he was a member of the marching band, the concert band and the choir.

He attended Cabrillo College, Santa Cruz, CA, for two years, where he majored in music. He also performed with various bands locally and throughout the country. He attended Union Baptist Church and St. John's Catholic Church and was employed by “Noble & Periot” and “Collectors' Source” as a numismatic broker.

He was preceded in death by his father; maternal grandparents, Louis and Margaret Thurman; and paternal grandparents, George and Bertha Martin.

Surviving are mother, Barbara Thurman Martin of the residence; sister, Cherisse Martin of Laurel, MD; uncles, Louis O. Thurman Jr. and his wife, Gloria, of Waynesboro, VA, Willie King and Robert Withers of Lynchburg, VA; aunts, Clara Hubbard and Edith King of Lynchburg, VA; and a number of cousins and other relatives.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Union Baptist Church in Waynesboro, VA, with the Rev. Dr. Donald W. Johnson officiating. Burial will be at Fort Hill Memorial Park, Lynchburg, VA. The body will be placed in the church one hour prior to the service. Pallbearers will be friends attending the service.

The family will receive friends at the residence.

Memorials may be made to the Union Baptist Church Building Fund.

McCutcheon's Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

[The News Leader – Staunton, Virginia – Thursday November 8, 2001 – Page 2]

Left: Derek’s 10th grade picture, Skyline 75, page 89, Waynesboro High School, 1200 W. Main Street, Waynesboro, VA 22980-4315.
Center: Derek’s senior portrait, Skyline 76, page 52, Waynesboro High School, 1200 W. Main Street, Waynesboro, VA 22980-4315.
Right: Derek’s April 25, 2000 booking photograph from the Brooklyn Center Police Department, 6645 Humboldt Ave. N, Brooklyn Center, MN 55430-1810.

NOTE (2021-01-05): Derek’s booking photograph presented top (right) was one of seven available from April 8, 2000 to August 18, 2001, four from bookings at the Brooklyn Center Police Department (BCPD) and three from bookings at the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD). Although unnecessary for the purpose of this document, this information provides context for the following two articles.

Record Settlement Reached in Hennepin Jail Brutality Suit

In what is believed to be the largest brutality settlement in its history, Hennepin County has agreed to pay $540,000 to end a lawsuit with a former Minneapolis man who claims guards at the county jail beat him, then jail staff members failed to give him proper medical attention.

Derek G. Martin, 43, claimed in a civil rights suit filed in U.S. District Court that five guards at the jail used improper force, dislocating and fracturing his hip and causing other injuries after he was arrested Sept. 4, 2000, on a misdemeanor.

Signed by the County Board chairman last week, the settlement also forgave more than $12,500 of Martin's medical bills at Hennepin County Medical Center.

County Board may rethink how it debates settlements

The board approved the settlement without debating it in public. But Chairman Mike Opat said the county will probably rethink its process in an effort to make significant legal settlements more open to public scrutiny. He said the county was concerned about unlimited liability in a federal lawsuit and was advised to settle.

Martin's attorney, Robert Bennett, said Wednesday that he thinks county officials settled because they perceived a high likelihood of the plaintiff proving his case. Martin's hip wasn't put back into place for 25 hours after the injury, Bennett said.

"It says to me that there were procedures and people then in place . . . that would tolerate abuse of prisoners," he said. "There's apparently a notion that you can do this sort of thing and get away with it."

The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office has launched an internal investigation into the incident, but a spokeswoman for the department said the settlement doesn't imply wrongdoing. The investigation is continuing, which limits the amount of information that can be released.

"I wouldn't want to imply that a settlement before trial implies any conclusions," spokeswoman Roseann Campagnoli said. "This is a more cost-effective way, in the county's eyes, to handle these kind of situations. This is one time you advise the County Board and follow their directive."

Martin has been booked at the county jail at least a dozen times, mostly on minor infractions.

On the day of the incident, he was in the jail after Brooklyn Center police arrested him on suspicion of violating a restraining order. According to an inmate behavior chart, an entry written at 4:10 p.m. said Martin was physically "uncooperative" and repeatedly cursed at a deputy. After he tried to spit on the deputy, another deputy put a T-shirt over his face, the chart said.

It said he was taken to "M-5," which Bennett described as a holding cell, and deputies left without "any further incident." Subsequent entries report that Martin was lying on the floor and that he appeared to be OK.

Martin's attorneys played for a reporter a jail videotape they had obtained that appears to show Martin walking into the jail, his hands cuffed behind his back, cooperating with deputies. After walking him through a corridor, the video shows, deputies leaned Martin over a table and surrounded him to put a light-colored cloth over his head.

The group continued walking. A video camera positioned outside the door to a cell shows deputies accompanying Martin in. Screams and moans follow, and the tape shows a man in a room next door pressing his face against glass, apparently trying to see what was happening.

The videotape recorded more screaming as deputies calmly filed out the door.

"It's quite clear they were comfortable – smiling – about causing significant pain," Bennett said.

Campagnoli said that the deputies in the cell were following a practice in which they put uncooperative inmates on the floor and bend their legs behind them, to immobilize the inmates and ensure staff safety.

Opat said he knew very little of the circumstances surrounding the suit and had not viewed the videotape, saying only that "appearances can be deceiving."

"There was an unfortunate incident, we're still investigating, but it was the right thing to do," Opat said of the settlement. "Any sort of trial is a crapshoot."

He said the board will await the outcome of the internal investigation to determine whether to recommend changes in jail procedures.

"If this is an issue of judgment, well deal with the people who showed a lack of it. If it's an issue of procedure, well deal with the procedure," he said.

The County Board voted on the settlement as part of a general claims register of more than 1,600 items, including such things as requests to pay parking fees and the cost of pizza. In contrast, the Minneapolis City Council often debates legal settlements in a public forum before voting.

Carolyn Marinan, the county's director of public affairs, said the county fulfilled its legal requirements of making the settlement public by including it in the claims register.

"It's not our job to tell people about bad news," she said.

But Opat said that compared with the city, the county has few legal settlements.

[Star Tribune – Minneapolis, Minnesota – Thursday October 25, 2001 – Pages 1, A14]

Recipient of Brutality Settlement Found Dead

Drug overdose suspected

Less than a month after he received what is thought to be the largest brutality settlement in Hennepin County history – $540,000 – a 43-year-old man has been found dead of an apparent drug overdose in New York City.

Derek G. Martin's body was found Nov. 3 in a rooming house, according to the New York City medical examiner's office. The examiner is conducting toxicology tests but listed the death as a possible drug overdose.

Martin was paid $540,000 last month to end a lawsuit that claimed that guards at the county jail beat him and that jail staff members failed to give him medical attention.

His attorney, Robert Bennet, said he spoke with Martin last week. Martin told him he had moved to New York City after the settlement to find a job in the rare coins and precious metals market. Bennett said that Martin's mother, who lives in Virginia, spoke to her son the day before his death and that he did not indicate there was any trouble.

Although New York City police would not confirm it, Bennett said he understood that a woman staying with Martin placed two 911 calls, the second indicating where his body could be found.

Hennepin County has paid the full amount of the settlement. Although declining to be specific, Bennett said the entire amount of Martin's share, typically two-thirds of the settlement in a civil case after attorney fees, had been given to him.

"I guess the most you can say at this point is that this is an unfortunate ending," said Hennepin County Board Chairman Mike Opat.

Martin claimed in a civil rights suit filed in U.S. District Court that five guards, using improper force, dislocated and fractured his hip and caused other injuries after he was arrested on a misdemeanor charge Sept. 4, 2000. Included in the evidence that would have been used in a trial was a videotape from the jail.

Martin, who had listed many addresses across the United States over the years, had been booked at the county jail at least a dozen times before, mostly on minor infractions.

Bennett said he believed that Martin had a chemical abuse problem but was not aware how serious it might have been. He said he did not know how much of the settlement Martin had left at the time of his death.

"Most attorneys in town will tell you that, whenever a settlement is reached for that kind of money, you always worry about what might happen to your client," Bennett said.

[Star Tribune – Minneapolis, Minnesota – Saturday November 10, 2001 – Page B3]