“Justice is having the person that did this to me locked up”—Floyd Dent
“[Melendez] said he was a Black man in a Cadillac and he was going to stop him”—Dent’s attorney Gregory Rohl
Melendez sued for brutality numerous times, tried by feds in 2004 as ringleader of “Ramparts”-style cop gang on Detroit’s southwest side
Inkster Police Chief Vicki Yost aided 3-time killer cop Eugene Brown in death of Lamar Grable while on Detroit police force
Protests planned to support Dent Wed. April 1, at Frank Murphy Hall of Injustice, in Detroit, 9 AM; April 1 4:30 – 6:30 PM at Inkster Police Dept., April 3, 10 AM NAN protest at 27301 South River Park, Inkster
By Diane Bukowski
March 26, 2015
Update: Inkster officials held a press conference March 26 asking for patience during the investigation of this near-fatal beating. What is there to investigate? They have the videotape. Please note Inkster police chief Vicki Yost’s past role on the Detroit police force, and the fact that she lied about immediately inviting the MSP in as indicated in the story below. She had to have known about Robocop Melendez’ vicious past on the DPD since she was there in an executive position when he and other Detroit cops were tried by the feds in 2004.
Justice delayed is justice denied. It’s the same old story. Since the beginning of this year, 200 people across the U.S. have been killed by police, and not ONE cop involved in the killings of Michael Brown and dozens of others has gone to jail. For account of Inkster officials’ press conference, read http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/wayne-county/2015/03/26/inkster-motorist-arrest/70478874/.
For account of police killings nationally since beginning of 2015, read http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/03/13/2-cops-shot-in-ferguson-after-police-in-u-s-kill-3-people-a-day-since-2015-began/.
Inkster, MI – Former Detroit “Robocop” William Melendez has re-surfaced in Inkster, star of a police dash-cam video that shows him punching Black Detroit motorist Floyd Dent, 57, in the head 16 times while confining him in a chokehold January 28. Then a gang of white Inkster cops are shown tasing Dent, and beating and kicking him as two white State Troopers look on.
“Why are you doing this? What did I do?” Dent cries out as he is thrown up on the hood of a police car, bloodied and battered. Dent has been a Ford autoworker at the Rouge plant for 37 years and is a member of UAW Local 600. He was visiting a blind friend in Inkster when stopped, according to his attorney Gregory Rohl. He has no criminal record.
“Justice is having the person that did this to me locked up,” Dent said of Melendez, as tears flowed down his cheeks. He spoke during a press conference at Rohl’s offices in Novi. “I just saw this videotape for the first time the other day because I didn’t want to look at it. I just found out [about Melendez’s past record of brutality] and I couldn’t believe it. He’s a bad cop.”
Rohl said Dent sustained injuries including a fracture of his left orbit (around his eye), subdural hematomas (bleeding in the brain), and four broken ribs. He was charged in Inkster District Court with assault and battery on Melendez, two counts of resisting and obstructing police, and possession of crack cocaine. After viewing the videotape, an Inkster judge dropped all charges except the drug charge.
Dent is scheduled for a court hearing on that charge in the Frank Murphy Hall on April 1. He refused a plea bargain on the count. His supporters plan to protest that evening from 4:30-6:30 pm outside the new Inkster Police Department headquarters at
“I saw them plant the drugs in my car,” Dent said. “An innocent man does not plead guilty.” Meanwhile, his car has been seized by the Inkster Police department.
Dent tested negative for all illegal substances. Melendez and the other officers involved were not themselves tested.
Rohl said the Inkster police force is 95 percent white. Inkster is 73.2 percent Black, according to U.S. Census data.
“The police officer in charge clearly admitted to racially profiling my client,” Rohl said. “He said he was a Black man in a Cadillac, and he was going to stop him. Then [after the beating] he was thrown up on the car like an animal.”
Rohl said he has asked for an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into the beating. Earlier, protesters from the National Action Network picketed outside Inkster police headquarters, with some threatening to shut the city of Inkster down.
Inkster’s Police Chief is former Detroit cop Vicki Yost, also white, shown in the video above. She moved on to that position after numerous promotions in the Detroit Police Department subsequent to her participation with her partner Eugene Brown in the killing of Lamar Grable, 20, in 1996.
Grable’s sister Arnetta Grable, Jr. and Cornell Squires, of the Original Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, shown above, attended the press conference. Squires’ son was framed up by Melendez in 2000 for attempting to carjack him and Officer David LeValley, with a gun that was never found. The two were in plainclothes.
During a civil trial, Brown admitted to chasing and shooting Grable eight times, including three times in the chest as he lay on the ground. Police reports saidt Yost, who was in close proximity to the shooting, took the gun they claimed Lamar fired at Brown home overnight before she turned it into the police lab.
After hearing testimony from Brown and Yost, countered by testimony from noted medical examiner Werner Spitz that Grable was “executed,” a civil jury awarded Grable’s family $4 million in 2003. The verdict was upheld at the appeals and Supreme Court levels.
Preceding Yost in her position, which she assumed in August, 2014, was Hilton Napoleon, brother of Benny Napoleon, acting Detroit Police Chief in 2000. Benny Napoleon ditched an internal report on Brown which recommended criminal charges be brought against him, but the Michigan Supreme Court later ordered it disclosed.
Melendez has been sued in federal court as least 12 times, with an early lawsuit involving the execution-style slaying of Lou Adkins, unarmed, on Detroit’s southwest side. Melendez and his partner shot Adkins 11 times as he lay on the ground after a traffic stop. The most recent lawsuit involves an incident in 2011, during his tenure with the Inkster Police Department. Separately, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted him and 17 other Detroit cops in 2003 for a “Ramparts”-style campaign in the Third and Fourth Precincts.
Witnesses testified that the officers planted guns and drugs on them, beat them, sexually abused and strip searched them, threatened to kill them, and then falsified reports and lied in court. The USDOJ called Melendez and Matthew Zani the “ringleaders” of the group. The indictment said Melendez had threatened to kill one witness if he testified against him.
(In fact, one witness who was scheduled to testify against the cops but did not, Kyle Smith, a 24-year-old Detroit woman, was shot to death outside the Superbowl in Detroit in Feb. 2006, under suspicious circumstances. Detroit police have never solved the case. See link to story below.)
In what federal prosecutors called a “nullification” verdict, the jury acquitted the first eight officers tried, including Melendez, even though 17 Black Detroit officers testified against them. U.S. attorneys had moved for a mistrial, after defense attorney Anthony Chambers said during his closing argument that “government witnesses with prior criminal histories would soon be moving into the jurors’ neighborhoods, unless officers like the defendants were allowed to stop them.”
Kevin Ernst, attorney for one witness, commented, “I’ve been a civil rights attorney for 14 years. And never in that time have I seen a police officer testify against another officer, because of the blue code of silence. When you have other officers testifying, it’s hard to believe that it’s not true. . . .In fact, Melendez pled no contest to falsifying a police report in an earlier case. It’s obvious to me that the jurors just didn’t care if the civil rights of the witnesses got violated, because some [of the witnesses] were not upstanding citizens. But they have rights like everyone else.”
During the press conference, Dent, who has two children and two grandchildren and is currently engaged, described the beating by Melendez and Inkster cops in detail.
“When he first pulled me out, he said, ‘I’ll blow your brains out,’” Dent said, referring to Melendez. “The officer must have had something in his glove. He was beating me upside the head while I tried to protect my face with my right arm. The officer damn near choked me to death. Then I heard someone say, ‘Tase the m-f.’
Dent said the brutal treatment continued as he was thrown in a police car and driven to the hospital, where he was chained to his bed and not allowed to use a urinal, under police guard for three days during which his family was not allowed to visit him. He added that “it’s been hard to go back to a normal life” since the incident. He is currently on medical leave from his job.
Dozens of Dent’s family members attended the press conference, wearing shirts demanding, “Stop Police Brutality,” but were barred from commenting by his attorney.
An aide in Rohl’s office told VOD that although Yost told Channel Four on camera that she contacted the Michigan State Police immediately to investigate Rohl’s beating, Yost was not being truthful. The aide said when she contacted the MSP during the law office’s investigation well after the beating, she was told they had just received a referral from Yost.
The aide said she was “amazed and flabbergasted” at Melendez’ arrogance when he testified during Dent’s preliminary examination. She said he winked at her as she left the stand.
In his report, Melendez said, “Due to Writer observations and the above Arr. [arrestee] refusing to pull over and Writer believing Arr. was fleeing from police exited the scout car with department issued weapon out. Writer approached the driver’s side vehicle and illuminated the interior of the vehicle and observed the Arr. open the above vehicle driver’s side door and turn his body to the right with his hands in the right and left hands on his right side body between his right hip and center council (sic—‘console’). Writer in fear that Arr. may be reaching for a weapon raised his department issued weapon at Arr. and advised Arr. to see his hands. Writer observed Arr. look at Writer with a blank stare as if on a form of narcotic. Writer then observed Arr. state “I’ll kill you” and continue to keep his hands away from writer. . . .Writer . . . .moved in to extract Arr. from vehicle. Writer then observed Aux. Officer Zielenieski grab Arr. left arm and pull Arr. to the ground. Writer then observed Arr. begin to struggle and resist officers. Writer then got on top of Arr. and placed arms around Arr. upper body head area in an attempt to control Arr. at which time Arr. then with his teeth bit down on Writer’s left forearm. . . .Writer in fear of being bit and un-aware if Arr. had any diseases struck Arr. several times with a closed right fist to Arr. Right side facial area.”
Melendez then reports that Sgt. Kritzer pulled out his Tazer gun and shot it at Dent three times, with Dent pushing it aside twice, until a “third dry stun” took effect. He said Police Officers Arnica and Randazzo approached, and Randazzo kicked Dent in his right arm.
In the report, Melendez’ race is reported as “White,” although he is biracial, with one Latino parent.
Rohl noted during the press conference that the video gives the lie to Melendez’ report, since there is an interval of only 2.6 seconds between the time Dent is stopped and the time he is dragged out of the car. There is no evidence on the video of Dent resisting arrest, only trying to remove Melendez’ arm from his neck. Dent said he was about to take his last breath.
In 2003, after the acquittal of the “Robocop” gang on federal charges, Cornell Squires, who lives on the southwest side, commented, “It’s a sad day for all Detroiters. Surely the city will suffer greatly, and there will be more people, mostly African-American, framed up by these deviant cops if they are allowed back on the force.”
After the press conference, Arnetta Grable, Jr., also known as A.J., vowed to organize youth and others across the country to build a new world that her six-year-old son, named Lamar after her brother, can safely grow and prosper in.
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-02-04-detroit-shooting_x.htm) (re: Superbowl death)