Mayor Sawicki recovering from traumatic argument, judge grants protection order

Posted at 6:29 PM, Jun 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-27 07:03:36-04

A judge has granted a protection order for Cape Coral Mayor Marni Sawicki after her ex-husband was arrested for domestic assault following a bloody fight at a Miami hotel over the weekend.

Police arrested former Cape Coral firefighter Kenneth Retzer for allegedly choking and beating mayor Marni Sawicki after a night of drinking. Mayor Sawicki has been in Miami representing the city at a conference.

Sources close to the mayor say despite the violent argument, Sawicki attended scheduled events at the 85th annual Conference of Mayors.

Police reports show former Cape Coral Firefighter Kenneth Retzer was arrested Saturday after police say he straddled Sawicki, began choking her, then punched her in the face. Two hours later Retzer dialed 9-1-1. Police arrived to find blood splattered on hotel bed sheets, punch marks on the wall, and the victim sitting there.

"This is an example of how anyone could be a victim," Scott Johnson, an expert in physical abuse cases said. "High profile people have a hard time speaking out about abuse. It's difficult because now you've got your job at stake, you've got your professional reputation and that professional reputation is public."

Arrest reports show the couple had drinks at the hotel's nightclub and as they left they Retzer and Sawicki got into a verbal argument that escalated quickly.

"As an expert in the field, what I would say is that number one is alcohol is a part of 70 percent or better of all violent crimes," Johnson said."The only way to stop the abuse and be protected is to talk to professionals about what happened."

The former firefighter is not facing battery and strangulation charges. A judge has granted a protection order for Mayor Sawicki. Sources have confirmed the city paid for Mayor Sawicki's hotel room but a spokesperson says the courts will determine who pays for the damages.

Mayor Sawicki briefly spoke to Four In Your Corner saying she is still recovering from the initial trauma of the incident. Kenneth Retzer has bonded out of jail.