Advertisement
VICE News

Dashcam Footage Shows Michigan Cops Choking, Beating, and Using Taser on Black Man During Traffic Stop

In the video, one officer can be seen placing the 57-year-old in a chokehold with one arm, while repeatedly punching him with the other.

by VICE News
Mar 26 2015, 3:21pm

Photo by Frank Deanrdo/Flickr

VICE News is closely watching policing in America. Check out the Officer Involved blog here.

Recently released dashcam footage shows the moment that Michigan police officers dragged a black resident in the city of Inkster from his car before choking him, beating him, and using a Taser on him during a traffic stop.

Video of the incident, which occurred in January, shows the officers pushing 57-year-old Floyd Dent to the ground while one cop, identified as William Melendez, uses a chokehold to restrain him and repeatedly punches him in the head — 16 times, according to police reports. Dent, who worked for the Ford Motor Company for 37 years and has since retired, does not have a criminal record. Police said they followed Dent after he did not come to a complete stop at a stop sign. He was reportedly driving on a suspended license, according to WDIV Detroit.

"I'm lucky to be living," Dent told reporters at a press conference at his attorney's office Wednesday afternoon. "I think they were trying to kill me, especially when they had choked me. I mean, I was on my last breath. I kept telling the officer, 'Please, I can't breathe.'"

Dent does not appear to be resisting arrest in the video of the incident, which is being investigated by the Michigan state police.

Later in the video, a third officer who arrives at the scene can be seen kicking Dent, while another officer who shows up uses a Taser on the man while he is handcuffed on the ground.

"He was beating me upside the head," Dent said. "I was trying to protect my face with my right arm. I heard one of them say, 'tase the M...F. '"

Police claim that Dent yelled "I'll kill you," at the officers and bit Melendez on the arm, which is why he started punching him, WDIV Detroit reported. Melendez did not seek medical attention for the bite marks or photograph it.

Dent told reporters he spent two days in a local hospital recovering from injuries to his face and head.

Police charged Dent with resisting arrest, assault, and possession of a bag of crack cocaine, which officers said they found beneath the passenger seat of the vehicle.

Dent has denied the charges and says cops planted the cocaine on him during the arrest. His attorney, Gregory Rohl, said that unreleased portions of the tape, which will be revealed in time, show that police planted the drugs.

A district court judge later threw out the assault and resisting arrest charges after reviewing parts of the tape. Dent will appear in court on April 1 to face the drug charge.

One of the officers involved in the incident was reportedly charged for planting evidence and falsifying reports while serving in the Detroit Police Department in 2003, according to WDIV. A jury later cleared the officer of the charges.

Photo via Flickr