Michigan cops pulled a man over for a minor traffic violation, proceeding to yank him out of his car and brutally abuse him, including one officer who placed him in a chokehold and punched him repeatedly while another officer kicked him and a third officer tased him several times.
Inkster police say they were only trying to protect themselves from a man who threatened to kill them.
But a police dash cam video shows they approached him at gunpoint, then yanked him out of the car without provocation on the evening of January 28, 2015.
The portion of the dash cam video where he allegedly threatened to kill them is muted, although the audio miraculously begins working towards the end of the video when they have him in front of the patrol car.
Also, the three cops who initially attacked him were wearing audio recorders, but they were either turned off or not working, according to Local 4 News out of Detroit. Watch the news video below.
Floyd Dent, 57, a man who has worked for the Ford Motor Company for 37 years and whose criminal record is spotless, said he believed he was going to die.
Police say they found a bag of crack cocaine in his car, but Dent, whose blood tested clean at a hospital after the arrest, says the drugs were planted.
And that is not hard to believe considering the cop who placed him in a chokehold and punched him in the face 16 times is William Melendez, a cop who was indicted for planting drugs and falsifying reports when he worked as a Detroit police officer.
Melendez, aka “Robocop,” was featured in a Los Angeles Times article in 2003, which named him as the ringleader of a group of 17 rogue cops who were indicted on various charges.
The police officer known as “Robocop” has been sued at least four times for excessive use of force, cost the city more than $1 million in legal settlements and received more citizen complaints than any other in the city. Another officer has shot at suspects nine times in 10 years on the job, killing three and wounding several others.
Federal investigators had obvious places to start when they launched their inquiry into the Detroit Police Department at the end of 2000. Few knew how long the investigation would last or how deep it would delve.
The process so far has resulted in two of the most sweeping consent decrees in the nation. In June, the city agreed with the U.S. attorney’s office here to bring in an outside monitor for at least five years and to overhaul almost every unit in the department, as well as scores of policies and procedures.
But the probe isn’t over yet.
A week after Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick agreed to improve everything from the way the department investigates officer-involved shootings to the food it serves detainees — typically bologna on two slices of white bread, every eight hours — U.S. Atty. Jeffrey Collins on June 19 indicted 17 officers for allegedly waging a private war on residents whom they deemed undesirable.
The group, allegedly headed by William “Robocop” Melendez, is accused of stealing guns, money and drugs from suspects, planting weapons and breaking into homes without search warrants, among other crimes. All 17 have pleaded not guilty.
Melendez was acquitted of the charges against him in 2004 and left the department in 2010, eventually becoming an Inkster police officer, a department out of a suburb in Metro Detroit, most likely still collecting a pension from the 18 years he spent at the Detroit Police Department.
He also runs his own security company, according to his LinkedIn page, where he makes no mention of his abusive history or of his Hollywood nickname.
Bill Melendez C.E.O. of Strategic Security was an investigator of a Special Investigations Unit of the Inkster Police Department and an operator of an elite Special Response Team. Before the Inkster Police Department he retired from the Detroit Police Department as a crew chief of a twelve man Special Operations Unit. He has been trained in fatal and non-fatal shootings, crime scene preservation and follow up investigations to the apprehension of those responsible. Narcotic complaints within Wayne County and the execution of search warrants for such locations. Has coordinated the apprehension of fugitives wanted in the United States with local and federal authorities. Has conducted surveillance and counter-surveillance of high ranking gang and narcotic members. Has been a team leader in a Dynamic Entry Team while conducting search and arrest warrants on high threat locations. He has been trained in anti-terrorism, hostage rescue and close quarter battle tactics. A former member of a Special Operations Group and Honorably discharged from the United States Army.
Police say they pulled Dent over for failing to make a complete stop at a stop sign, saying they had been watching him from a distance through binoculars. When they turned on the emergency lights, they say he began fleeing, but the video shows he may not have seen the lights at first because he just kept cruising along at the same speed before he pulled over.
The video shows two cops approach him, one with his gun drawn, as Dent opens to the door with his arm out. Police say they were in fear for their lives because his other arm was not visible, which is why they dragged him out.
Melendez claimed he had to punch Dent repeatedly because the man had bitten him on his arm as he was trying to choke him, which was only being done, he insists, to protect himself from a violent man.
But Melendez never sought treatment for that injury nor did he ever bother photographing the injuries, which is something cops always do, no matter how tiny the injury.
Dent, who was charged with assaulting an officer, fleeing an officer and resisting arrest along with the drug charge, is now only facing the drug charge because a judge threw out the other charges after watching the video, his lawyer said in a telephone interview with Photography is Not a Crime.
Prosecutors offered Dent a plea deal on the drug charge where he would plead guilty in exchange for probation, but he flatly refused. His trial is coming up next month.
“I’ve been at my job 37 years, so I don’t have to sell drugs, so I don’t sell drugs, ” Dent told the local media. “I don’t do drugs.”
But his attorneys said they are building a case against Melendez by compiling his long history of abuse, which they will be releasing to the media within the next two days.
Melendez, meanwhile, has been placed on desk duty pending an investigation by Michigan state police, who will hopefully bring Robocop’s career to an end by placing him behind bars.