Caretaker arrested for hitting mentally disabled group home residents with frying pan

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PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (WFLA) — A caretaker is facing charges of abuse of a mentally disabled person after police said she hit several residents at a group home with a frying pan.

Darnika Martin is charged with two counts.

According to the arrest report, she struck two mentally ill patients at a group home in Pinellas Park.

Martin didn’t know cameras were rolling when she lunged at one of the residents with a frying pan.

The owner just happen to review his cameras over the weekend.

“He called authorities and said ‘hey, I was reviewing my stuff, I looked at it and I saw one of my staff members hitting one of the patients,'” said Captain Adam Geissenberger.

In the video, the victim is in the kitchen.

Seconds later, Martin runs over, holding a frying pan in her hand, yelling at the man to go sit down.

Detectives tell us she slapped the man with her left hand while holding the frying pan over her head.

Police said she struck the man several times as he tried defending himself.

“You can clearly see in the video that this man was trying to get something out of a bag which we learned was food. I don’t know what the dialogue was between them, but for her to pick up a frying pan and strike him repeatedly about the head, arms and hands, there’s no place for that anywhere,” said Geissenberger.

Martin is out on a $10,000 bond.

We went by her home in St. Petersburg for a comment but no one answered the door.

“The level of disability that both of these adults have lead us to be the ones to bring charges against her,” said Geissenberger.

The group home is located at a residence near 81st Avenue.

No one answered the door when News Channel 8 stopped by for a comment regarding the abuse and arrest.

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