Judge orders woman convicted of assaulting officers freed

Posted: Updated:

A judge ordered a Roosevelt woman to be released from custody after new information came out regarding one of her arresting officers.

Jonita Martinez was found guilty this June of petty larceny, resisting arrest and two felony counts of assaulting Nassau County police officers.

The incident happened in January 2017, when Nassau officers responded to a report of a theft at a CVS pharmacy in Elmont. They pulled over Martinez for that crime.

Martinez’s attorney Fred Brewington says the officers claimed they were assaulted during the traffic stop.

The officers say she hit one of them in the face and kicked while she was under arrest, causing some of them to fall into a fence and suffer injuries.

Then the Nassau District Attorney's Office released information last week about one of the arresting officers.

Prosecutors say Officer Daniel Dowsett pleaded guilty to departmental charges after an incident in the 1990s in which he fabricated a story and lied for another officer to cover up a car accident. Brewington says the new information completely changes the case.

But Nassau PBA President James McDermott says an incident from two decades ago doesn't change the facts of the current case.

"A police officer was assaulted and was injured, and that's that," he says.

The district attorney's office says it did not mean to withhold information on Dowsett's previous incident.

"In this case, there was an inadvertent error, and it was corrected immediately upon discovery," the office said in a statement.

Brewington says his client spent almost two weeks behind bars. She was released Monday night, but the conviction has not been tossed out.

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