Dent opened his door and was dragged out of his Cadillac; almost immediately, Melendez put him in a chokehold. Melendez then proceeded to deliver 16 blows to Dent’s temple. This all took place in about 15 seconds. Another officer arrived moments later and proceeded to use a taser stun gun against Dent, three times. In the video, Dent, with blood dripping from his forehead and cheek, appears not to be resisting Melendez’s efforts to arrest him.
Melendez’s record shows he has faced similar allegations before. At one point, he garnered more citizen complaints than any officer in Detroit, where he started his career in 1993 and served until his resignation in 2009. He entered Inkster’s police force a year later.
Over nearly two decades, Melendez has been named as a defendant in a dozen federal lawsuits, accused of planting evidence, wrongfully killing unarmed civilians, falsifying police reports and conducting illegal arrests. Some suits were settled out of court. Others were dismissed.
In 1996, Melendez, who was known in Detroit as ‘RoboCop’, and his partner shot and killed Lou Adkins. While Adkins was on the ground, several witnesses said the officers shot him 11 times, according to the Detroit Free Press. The case was settled for $1.05m, court records show.
– From the Guardian article: How a Traffic Stop Left a Michigan Man Beaten, Bloodied and Bitter at Police
Michigan police officer William Melendez has a sordid reputation. Amongst other things, he has come to be known as ‘Robocop’ for his shady and often violent behavior. Additionally, he was ‘cited as the ringleader of numerous officers indicted by a federal grand jury in 2003 on civil rights violations.’
In contrast, Detroit native Floyd Dent worked at Ford for 37-years, has no criminal record and seems to be a decent and thoughtful citizen. He just happens to be black, driving at night, and had the unfortunate experience of running into William ‘Robocop’ Melendez on the evening of January 28, 2015.
One of these individuals should be behind bars for a very long time, and one of them shouldn’t.
From the Guardian:
This post was published at Liberty Blitzkrieg on 31 March 2015.