The Michigan man apparently didn’t use a turn signal, and he didn’t come to a full and complete stop either. This prompted police to pull him over, at which point the driver opened his door and put both his hands out of the window to show the officers that he was unarmed.
According to police, they thought the driver was reaching for a gun. So the officers approached him with their weapons drawn. One officer held him at gunpoint while the other pulled him out of the vehicle. When the man was yanked to the ground, officers pummeled his face and ended up breaking his orbital bone and four of his ribs. During their beating of him, they also tasered him a few times.
They arrested him for the usual – resisting arrest and assault – and then tacked on another charge of possession of cocaine after they claimed to find a bag of the white powder under the passenger seat.
But that wasn’t the worst part. According to the driver’s attorney, new video evidence shows the arresting officer planting that baggie of coke under the passenger seat.
Floyd Dent, a 57-year-old Detroit native, was pulled over by officer William Melendez of the Inkster, Michigan police department on Jan. 28, allegedly for failing to use a turn signal and disregarding a stop sign.
After being pulled over, Dent opened his door and put both of his hands out the window, telling The Guardian he did so because he “wanted to let them know I’m unarmed.”
What happened next was captured on officer Melendez’s dashboard video camera.
The 46-year-old Melendez, thinking that Dent was reaching for a weapon, approached his car with a weapon drawn. While no audio exists of the events, Dent maintains that he was told by officers to step out of his car.
Upon opening his door, Dent was dragged out of his Cadillac, where he was immediately placed in a chokehold by Melendez, who proceeded to punch Dent 16 times in the face. Other officers came to the scene and piled onto Dent, including one officer who tased him three times. It all took place in 15 seconds.
After the violent arrest, which left Dent with four broken ribs, a fractured orbital and blood on his brain, police claimed officers found a package of cocaine underneath the passenger side of his car, and charged Dent with resisting arrest, assault, and possession of cocaine.
After viewing video of the arrest earlier this month, a district court judge tossed out all of Dent’s charges, except for the cocaine charge, which he will respond to in court on Wednesday.
But now attorneys for Dent, who tested negative for cocaine in a post-arrest drug test, say that careful inspection of a recently released video shows officer Melendez pulling the cocaine from his pocket before planting it in Dent’s car.
“I saw [an officer] with drugs in his hand, and I thought, ‘Look at them dirty dogs,’” Dent said about the arrest. “After that I just held my head down.”
Over his career, Melendez has been named in a dozen federal lawsuits, accusing him of falsifying police reports, planting evidence, and killing unarmed citizens.
So, what exactly do they have on this guy? Anything except that he rolled through a stop sign and didn’t use his turn signal? If Dent’s attorney is correct in that there’s video evidence showing that Melendez planted drug evidence in the car, then they’ve got nothing, and everything they did to him was completely uncalled for. It goes without saying that this Melendez character and the others who were complicit should not only be let go from the force, but also suffer the same punishment that Dent would have had to endure had this video evidence not surfaced.