Caught on Video: Vicious Police Beating of Floyd Dent by Inkster, Michigan Police

Yet another reason to go all out for #ShutDownA14

April 1, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


“He was beating me upside the head. I was trying to protect my face with my right arm. I heard one of them say, ‘Tase the M...F.'”

“To me, justice is having the person that done this to me locked up."

Floyd Dent

Inkster, Michigan, January 28, 10 pm57-year-old Floyd Dent is on his way home from visiting a friend in the neighboring city of Inkster. Then in the rearview mirror he sees a sight that signals danger—perhaps life-threatening danger, if you’re a Black man: a police cruiser with its overhead lights turned on.

Police claim Dent didn’t use his traffic signal and disregarded a stop sign, something that if true would end up most people with a simple ticket. But if you’re a Black man, it can mean ending up in the hospital or worse. It doesn’t matter that you’ve lived your whole life in Detroit, worked at the Ford auto plant for 37 years and don’t have any criminal record. You’re still a Black man in America.

The video from the cop car cam captures what next happened to Floyd Dent. And everyone needs to watch it:

Dent drives at about the same speed for about three-quarters of a mile to a well-lit area where, as he explained later, he felt comfortable. He pulls to the side of the road. As two cops walk up to his car, Dent opens the car door, putting both his hands out of the window. Later he says, “I wanted to let them know I’m unarmed.” The cops come up on Dent with their guns drawn.

Then in the next 20 seconds: The cops drag Dent out of his car; one of the cops, William Melendez, gets Dent down on the ground, puts him in a chokehold and viciously punches his head 16 times. More cops arrive, there are now about nine on the scene and one uses a Taser stun gun against Dent, three times, another kicks Dent in the body.

Remember Eric Garner’s last words? “I can’t breathe.” Dent also feared for his life. He says, “I’m lucky to be living. I think they was trying to kill me, especially when they had choked me. I mean, I was on my last breath. I kept telling the officer, ‘Please, I can’t breathe.’” Dent spent two days in the hospital for a fractured left orbital, blood on the brain, and four broken ribs.

The cops claim there was a small bag of cocaine found underneath the passenger seat of Dent’s car. Dent, whose post-arrest drug test came up negative, says police planted that evidence and Dent’s attorney, Greg Rohl, told TV reporter Chris Hayes, "It's pretty obvious. If you look at the entirety of the tape... You can see [Melendez] go through the passenger's compartment where allegedly the cocaine was found, and come out with his hands clear and clean of anything ... Then he goes back to the car when the state troopers leave the scene, there's another officer who steps in the middle of the camera, and you can see [Melendez] reach into his pocket, and sure enough start pulling some plastic bag out."

Dent was initially charged with assault, resisting arrest and possession of cocaine. Then, after viewing the video at a preliminary hearing, a district court judge was forced to toss out all the charges except the drug charge.

When Melendez was a cop in Detroit, he was named as a defendant in a dozen federal lawsuits, accused of planting evidence, wrongfully killing unarmed civilians, falsifying police reports and conducting illegal arrests. So did the justice system ever punish him for anything? Some suits were settled out of court. Others were dismissed. Melendez has been sued at least four times for excessive use of force; Detroit paid legal settlements to basically keep Melendez on the streets. Just one example: In 1996, when Melendez was a cop in Detroit and known as “RoboCop,” he and his partner shot and killed Lou Adkins. Witnesses said that while Adkins was on the ground, the cops shot him 11 times. The case was settled for $1.05 million. Neither cop was punished.

And the U.S. Justice Department knew about Melendez too. U.S. prosecutors determined that he led a ring of 17 cops involved in corruption—but he was allowed to keep his job. Clearly, Melendez has been a cop that the system has protected and kept as one of their armed enforcers.


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