William Melendez was officially fired on Wednesday after his five-day suspension for the incident. Dent, 57, reportedly ran a traffic light in January and was pulled out of his car by Melendez and another police officer.
Dash cam footage caught the officers beating Dent, who was already on the ground. Dent was arrested and charged with resisting and assaulting police and possession of cocaine. Several rallies and protests have occurred since the footage hit the internet in March.
Due to the graphic video, the charges of assault and resisting arrest were dropped, but Dent was still arraigned for cocaine possession Wednesday morning.
Teamsters Local 214 Business Representative, and union rep for Melendez, Al Lewis shared his thoughts on the termination of the officer. Lewis believes the somewhat swift termination was done to please the public, not in accordance with the facts of the case.
“I was told today at the meeting that both the internal investigation (and the state police investigation), neither are complete,” Lewis said. “If you’re going to be discharged, I think you should wait until the investigations are concluded. In my opinion, it’s basically to appease public opinion.”
Melendez’s past was also revealed during court on Wednesday. The officer has been involved in numerous civil rights cases, including an indictment for a shooting that happened during an unwarranted raid in November 2003. The city eventually settled with the victim’s son for $50,000 after the officer and several others entered the home of Ernest Crutchfield II, fatally shooting him.
Another raid in July 2011 left one man seriously injured after Melendez and other cops barged into his home and beat him unconscious. He was detained for three days and released without an explanation for the raid. In 2003, he was also acquitted for a case that involved himself and other officers stealing cash and other items from suspects.
Dent’s lawyers are looking to bring criminal charges to Melendez with the Department of Justice.
SOURCE: Michigan Live | VIDEO CREDIT: News Inc.
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