An Inkster, Michigan police officer, seen in a video punching an unarmed Black man more than a dozen times, reportedly has a record riddled with allegations of planting evidence, falsifying police reports and using excessive force, according to the Huffington Post.
The officer, William Melendez, can be seen pulling over 57-year-old Floyd Dent in the Detroit suburb on dashcam video released last week by Click on Detroit, the report says. Seconds after the stop, Melendez is shown punching Dent, as other officers use a Taser and kick him.
Dent was hospitalized for several days.
Officers also said they found cocaine in Dent’s car, but he and his lawyer say the drugs were planted, “pointing to a moment on the dashcam video that appears to show Melendez removing a baggie from his pocket as officers look through the vehicle,” the report says.
Dent’s case is the not the first time Melendez has been accused of excessive force and planting evidence at a scene, the Huffington Post reports:
Melendez is currently named in a lawsuit brought by Inkster resident Dashawn Acklin, who says seven officers entered his friend’s house in July 2011 while he was in the bathroom. When he exited, the officers allegedly told him to get on the ground where they handcuffed him. The lawsuit states that though Acklin was compliant, one officer choked him and beat him until he lost consciousness and another maced him. The suit says Acklin was subsequently hospitalized and never charged with a crime.
Melendez previously served as a Detroit police officer until he resigned in 2007. In 2003, more than a dozen officers were indicted on criminal charges for allegedly stealing drugs, guns and money from suspected drug dealers, as well as planting evidence and falsifying reports. Melendez, then known by the nickname “RoboCop,” was accused of being the ringleader. He was acquitted at trial in 2004.
Another notable example of the allegations against Melendez comes from resident Clifton White. In a 2004 lawsuit, White alleged that Melendez (with other officers) arrested him three times in 2001 and 2002, in each instance falsifying police reports to say he had drugs on him. The lawsuit also alleges Melendez repeatedly made threats and intimidating statements to White and his neighbors, one time telling White, “If I don’t get mine, I don’t play fair.” The lawsuit was settled.
Michigan State Police are currently investigating Dent’s encounter with Inkster police. Inkster’s police chief has not released a statement regarding the violent arrest.
SOURCE: Huffington Post | VIDEO: NDN