BY JENNIFER CABRERA
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Terry L. Martin-Back, 68, a longtime area realtor and property manager, was arrested today on a warrant issued following a complaint that he made threats against the Gainesville City Commission.
According to the sworn complaint, Martin-Back sent an email to the city commission on September 9 that said, “My hope after the election, when you are seen in public by the residence [sic] of Gainesville… they pull you out of whatever establishment you attend… and they beat your ass over your in-favor vote for inclusionary zoning. I hope I’m first in line and my combat emotional stress kicks in and I can take all out on your face!! I’m [s]ick of you POS!”
Martin-Back then reportedly made a Facebook post that said, “I’m about to lose control of my PTSD with the City of Gainesville elected Commissioners. When I see them in public, I don’t think I will be able to control my actions… You have a choice… stop me or join in.”
Martin-Back also reportedly replied to a comment on that post, saying, “I just sent an email advising them that my PTSD may set in after the election and cause the public or me to pull them out of an establishment and beat their ass if they vote for inclusionary zoning…”
A Gainesville Police Department officer met with Martin-Back at his home, and when the officer said the visit was about an email he sent, Martin-Back reportedly asked, “Are you talking about the city commission zoning they’re trying to include?” When asked again about the email, he reportedly replied, “That I hope that when they get out of the office that somebody drags them out and kicks their butt.”
Martin-Back then reportedly explained to the officer why he was opposed to the exclusionary zoning ordinance and how it might affect his business. He reportedly added, “We have elected officials that do not even listen to the citizens of the City of Gainesville.” When the officer read the email to Martin-Back, he reportedly said, “No, I said I hope I’m the one that gets to do that… you know,” and then trailed off.
The officer asked whether the email was just a verbal attack, and Martin-Back reportedly replied, “Did I say I was going to physically do this immediately? Did I say I was going to do this today, did I say I was going to do this tomorrow? I said as soon as the election is over, I hope someone in this community comes out afterward, because I know if I go after someone right now it’s a felony. But once they’re a public citizen, I can get in their face, and I can go like that.” Martin-Back demonstrated pointing his finger in someone’s face.
When asked about the PTSD comment, Martin-Back reportedly said he was a combat veteran in the Army. He then reportedly said, “My focus is when they are un-elected, someone gets in their face.” The officer again tried to clarify, asking, “You’re not planning on going out and dragging anyone out of a building and attacking them?” and Martin-Back reportedly said, “Not tonight, I’m not.”
The sworn complaint was dated September 10, and the warrant was issued today. Martin-Back has been charged with making a written threat to kill or injure and is being held on $75,000 bail.
Martin-Back has long been a critic of the city commission, writing this column, among others, about their policies. He has written letters to the editor about Gainesville’s Renters’ Rights Ordinance and other topics. He also spoke against Alachua County’s proposed rental unit permit and inspection program in June.
Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.