Unarmed black man who was punched, choked by police, awarded $1.4 million

An unarmed Michigan man will receive $1.4million from the city Inkster, near Detroit after he was filmed being brutally attacked by officers.

Floyd Dent was pulled over in Inkster in January after rolling through a stop sign, at which point police pulled him out of his car, threw him to the group, put him in a choke hold and punched him 16 times

They also kicked him, shot him with a stun gun three times and then handcuffed him, claiming they then found drugs in his car.

He has now agreed to a $1.4million out of court settlement, and the police officer who put him in a chokehold, William Melendez, will stand trial on assault charges.

Mr Dent, 57, who has no previous arrests and was unarmed at the time, spent three days in the hospital with broken ribs, blood on his brain and other injuries.

He gave evidence at a hearing on Wednesday, where he told Judge Sabrina Johnson about the moment Melendez started choking him.

‘He came to the car, told me get out the car or he’ll kill me,’ Mr Dent said.

‘When I went to the ground, he started choking me… He choked me so hard, I couldn’t breathe. He started beating me on the right side of my head.’

When asked about the impact of the assault, Mr Dent said: ‘Sometimes I have a loss of memory. I can’t really think straight.’

Melendez was fired as an Inkster officer but denies any wrongdoing.

Defense attorney James Thomas suggested that unusual force might have been necessary because Dent opened the door as officers approached and made suspicious moves – something that Mr Dent denies.

Dent’s lawyer, Greg Rohl, said that a video from the scene shows the officer, William Melendez, removing a small plastic bag from his pocket that he claims to be the drugs that were planted in the car.

That video has since been obtained by WDIV.

Police meanwhile claim that Mr Dent had been resisting arrest after ignoring the traffic sign, and that he bit Melendez at one point.

They also claim he failed to stop for them and tried to escape, and that he appeared to be searching for a weapon as he told police ‘I’ll kill you.’

Mr Dent is still facing charges for drug possession and was driving with a suspended license.

Melendez says that Dent pulled into a hotel where drugs are known to be sold shortly before they pulled him over, walked into one of the rooms, and left a short time later.

In 2004, Melendez and seven other Detroit officers were acquitted of lying, falsifying reports and planting evidence. Federal prosecutors had accused him and another officer of being the ‘masterminds’ of a conspiracy to ‘run roughshod over the civil rights of the victims.’

Mr Dent claims he has been unable to work since the incident, and that he now suffers from frequent nightmares.

The incident led to protests, with Rev. Charles Williams II and about 50 protesters marching on the police department in Inkster in March.

Melendez’s initial appearance in Wayne County Circuit Court is scheduled for June 10.

Source: The DailyMail

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