This week, all around the country, people are discussing a new video tape of police brutality against an unarmed black man. In the recently released tapes (seen above), we see Floyd Dent– a longtime Detroit autoworker with no criminal history– being dragged from his car and then beaten, choked and tasered by Inkster police officers.
According to the police report, the officers initially began tailing Dent after seeing him stop at the Motown Inn, which officers say is notorious for drug trafficking. Officers then followed Dent, who had a suspended license, and pulled him over after they said they witnessed him running through a stop sign.
The reports then go on to say that Dent opened the driver’s side door, turned into his car and began reaching for something, which officers said they thought was a gun. After demanding to see his hands, the officers said that Dent turned around with a “blank stare as if on a form of narcotic” before saying, “I’ll kill you.”
However, the dash cam video of the incident seems to paint a much different picture. In fact, the video shows that police officers walked up with guns already drawn and immediately shoved a gun in Dent’s face. After that, Dent was dragged from his car and wrestled to the ground. Then, as seen in the video, Dent is punched 16 times, kicked, and stunned by a stun gun three times before the cuffs were thrown on him.
Initially following the stop, officers charged Dent with assault, resisting arrest, and possession of cocaine, saying that they found the drugs beneath the passenger side seat of the car (Dent has since denied the claim, saying that the drugs were planted by police).
After reviewing the tapes and facts of the case, the district court judge has already tossed out the assault and resisting arrest charges. Now an investigation is being launched to get to the bottom of the matter, which many are insisting is race-driven.
No doubt, adding to the racial tension is the fact that William Melendez, one of the officers involved in the incident, has been accused and acquitted of misconduct that involved civil rights abuses and planting evidence on criminal suspects.
“It’s really important to know we’re not hiding from this. We started the investigation,” says Inkster Police Chief Vicki Yost. “We launched internal investigation without a complaint being filed.”