Congressional candidate Martin Hyde was apparently worried about more than chocolates and roses on Valentine’s Day.
The Sarasota Republican was cited Monday morning for failing to display the proper registration on his vehicle at a speeding stop, according to records obtained by Florida Politics. He was stopped at 9:45 a.m. on Feb. 14.
That’s a minor enough infraction, one bearing a civil penalty of just $116. But it was enough to irritate Hyde to the point of threatening an officer’s livelihood.
Officer Julia Beskin in her official report states that Hyde became belligerent when he was stopped. She wrote that Hyde, when he did not produce his registration immediately, told her to “look it up cause he did not have it.”
That’s when he threatened her job.
“Do you know who I am?” Hyde said before threatening to call the police chief. “This is going to end your career.”
Hyde is a two-time failed Sarasota City Commission candidate now challenging U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan in a GOP Primary.
He acknowledges the events took place, and said he felt bad enough about it to call the officer after the incident. But he questioned the newsworthiness of the interaction.
“Man doesn’t like getting three tickets when he barely deserved one,” Hyde said. “And by the way, I called her afterward and said sorry.”
He also said he never intended to literally call the chief of police, and said that’s simply a phrase he says in moments of conflict. In this incident, he said he’s still not sure if he was driving 57 mph in a 40 mph zone, and he said the officer jumped on him about paper registration when his car had a tag and questioned his cell phone use. He maintains he was not using his phone. “It was all annoying,” he said.
This isn’t the first run-in with police for Hyde. During his first city race in 2017, police reports surfaced dating back to his 2010 divorce proceedings including a request for an injunction.
During a second run for the Commission in 2019, he became the central figure in a viral video shot at the Sarasota Bath & Racquet Club. In it, Hyde was complaining about teenagers using the club in which he is a member. At one point, he said, “I don’t know what drugs they are on.”
One of the people filming repeated a moment not caught on video, asserting Hyde told the Puerto Rican teens to “cut some grass.”
Hyde for years has been a regular speaker at local government meetings, and of late has been a staple at Sarasota School Board meetings. One of his rants recently led off a Lincoln Project video.
But Hyde said anyone who knows him will not hold these moments against him.
“I can’t get upside down about it,” he said. “I don’t think it will derail any limited appeal I might have. It’s not news. I’m getting bored of it. There’s a lot of stuff nobody talks about, serious things worthy of conversation. This is in the vein of ‘dog chases cat’ and it’s just crap.”