The story of Daniel Hernandez Martinez, a 29-year-old migrant from Venezuela, has gripped
New York City with a sense of frustration and disbelief. Martinez’s arrival in the city just two
months ago has been marked by a string of violent incidents, arrests, and releases on a shocking
14 charges. This raises a pressing question that has many community members deeply
concerned: at what point do we say enough is enough and demand change?
Martinez’s alleged crime spree began on the day after his arrival, June 28, when he was arrested
for stealing a jar of Nutella and various items from a Brooklyn Costco. He was charged with
petty larceny but released on his own recognizance. On July 6, he allegedly stole a “tool kit”
from a Duane Reade in Manhattan. The following day, he escalated to assault when he
threatened a security guard with a knife during another theft attempt. Once again, he was
released, leaving many baffled.
On July 31, Martinez attacked Jeffrey Bradac, an independent journalist documenting the
migrant influx in Times Square. This incident added to the growing frustration in our
communities. Bradac, who had previously interviewed Martinez, was puzzled by the sudden
attack. “I did a nice interview with the guy”; Bradac said, emphasizing the need for
accountability and change in our handling of such cases.
On August 21, Martinez violently attacked a woman in Midtown, resulting in charges of
menacing, assault, criminal mischief, and weapon possession. Shockingly, he was placed on
supervised release. His reign of chaos continued with another arrest on August 24 for menacing
with a weapon and harassment, once again with no bail set. Four days later, he was arrested for
stealing bicycles in Times Square, accompanied by assaulting a police officer during his custody.
This disturbing pattern of arrests, releases, and escalating violence begs the question: when will
we draw the line and demand accountability and change? ADA Jared Hotchkiss, in a bail
application, noted that Martinez had been arrested five times in less than two months for charges
involving harm. The frustration among community members is significant, as they witness the
system repeatedly release a potentially dangerous individual.
Prosecutors had requested substantial bail for the cop assault case, but the judge settled on a
significantly lower amount, ultimately sending Martinez to Rikers Island. This case also raises
questions about how migrants are vetted upon arrival. The U.S. State Department, Venezuelan
consulate, and Homeland Security have not provided answers regarding Martinez’s criminal
history or how he entered the U.S.
As citizens living within the nation, we must begin holding those responsible accountable and
working towards a system that ensures the safety and security of all community members. The
case of Daniel Hernandez Martinez serves as a stark reminder that our community’s demands for
change and accountability should not go unanswered.