Robocop Finally Goes To Jail Or, How To Use A Badge To Keep A Predominately Black City Oppressed

I’m a bit late with this story. I was not going to blog about it, but last night a dear friend told me that I had to. He said that I needed to express my opinion about how cities are placed in conditions of oppression, and the subject police officer in this case is a perfect example.

William Melendez was a police officer for the City of Detroit from 1993 to 2009. He received more civilian complaints than any other officer in the department. He was nicknamed “Robocop” like the movie character, purportedly because of his merciless violence against criminals. Melendez was accused of planting evidence, wrongfully killing civilians, falsifying police reports, and conducting illegal arrests.

Melendez has been a named defendant in at least 12 federal lawsuits. Some suits were settled out of court. Others were dismissed. Three years into the Detroit police force, Melendez and his partner fatally shot Lou Adkins. Witnesses testified that Adkins was shot 11 times while on the ground. The case settled for $1.05 million.

Melendez was also indicted by a federal grand jury for civil rights violations. Among other things, Melendez was accused of stealing guns, money, and drugs from suspects, and planting weapons. During his trial, many of the government’s witnesses had criminal records. The jury did not believe their testimony and Melendez was acquitted.

Melendez left Detroit and was hired by the Inkster police department. His conduct soon took a financial toll on that city. Since about 2008, Inkster has been financially struggling.  It reduced its police force from about 75 officers to about 23.  The majority of the officers in that predominately Black town are White.   In 2011, Melendez was accused of choking Inkster resident Deshawn Acklin. According to the federal lawsuit filed by Deshawn, Melendez beat and choked Deshawn until he lost consciousness. The court filing alleged that Acklin “succumbed to the pain and lack of oxygen and passed out defecating on himself.” Acklin was treated at a hospital for a closed head injury, a foot sprain, and bleeding from his eyes. He spent 3 days in custody but was never charged with a crime.  For Melendez humiliating and dehumanizing a man, homeowners in Inkster saw their property tax increased an additional $15 to $20 to pay for the $100,000 settlement.

floyd-dent-bloody

Dashcam video showing a bloody Floyd Dent

Inkster now has to pay out another settlement. It’s to Floyd Dent in the amount of $1.38 million as a result of his beating by Melendez. The city’s treasurer said that Inkster would levy a one-time tax hike of approximately $178 on homeowners to raise funds for the settlement. Not only has Melendez showed a pattern of causing harm to individuals, but his actions result in causing financial harm to the residents who pay for his criminal behavior. This pattern keeps citizens in a state of oppression, taking a step up, and then taking two steps back, never getting ahead.

What happens when there is an arrest record?  In some states, even when charges are dismissed, the former defendant still has to file papers with the court to have the case expunged.   If not, that arrest appears on background checks.  Last year, Michigan changed it expungment law.  It’s a complicated process that often requires an attorney.  Too often human resource personnel are not trained in understanding arrest records.  If a job applicant has any arrest, even when dismissed by the State, companies will not hire them.

Melendez’s actions have cost some innocent people more than inconvenience.  Their emotional well-being and future employment options are changed by an unlawful arrest.

This time however, Melendez is going to jail.

william-melendez2

William Melendez

On January 28, 2015, Melendez and his partner stopped Floyd, who was driving on a suspended license. The dashcam video is what convicted Melendez. It showed that Floyd did not resist. Melendez immediately took Floyd to the ground choking him, then beat him about his head. While on the ground, not resisting, additional officers arrived. Floyd was tazed. His left orbital was fractured. He had blood on his brain and 4 broken ribs. He was not taken to a hospital until after the officers, in Floyd’s presence, mocked him and joked about the beating. When they did take him to the hospital, Floyd spent 2 days. Melendez allegedly planted cocaine in Floyd’s car.

Subsequently, all charges against Floyd were dismissed.

The assault charge against Melendez carried a maximum 10-year prison sentence. The misconduct in office charge carries a maximum 5-year sentence.

Judge EvansIn sentencing Melendez, Wayne County Circuit Judge Vonda Evans addressed him for over half an hour. Judge Evans sentenced Melendez to up to 10 years in prison and on the guilty verdict for misconduct in office, she gave him 90 days credit for the time he has spent in jail.

 

 

Dashcam Video

 

Secret Video in the police station

 

Sentencing

 

Posted on 02/09/2016, in Cases, civil rights, Cops Gone Wild, Trial Videos and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.

  1. crustyolemothman

    It is astounding to say the least, that the city of Inkster continued to keep this person (I refuse to call him a man) on the police force. I would think that a good lawyer could possibly bring a class action suit against the members of the elected city government, forcing them to foot the bill for their part in this case. Then again, I guess my thoughts of people being responsible for their actions, or in this case non action, is no longer acceptable in modern society…

    Liked by 4 people

    • Mothman,

      “It is astounding to say the least, that the city of Inkster continued to keep this person (I refuse to call him a man) on the police force.”

      I wonder why he was hired by the Inkster police department after his reputation while in the Detroit police department. We saw a semblance of the same with Darrren Wilson being hired by Ferguson, and I also think that the cop who killed Tamir was a failed cop in another jurisdiction before being hired by Cleveland.

      “I would think that a good lawyer could possibly bring a class action suit against the members of the elected city government, forcing them to foot the bill for their part in this case.”

      There’s probably something in their state statute that gives them immunity from suits for official decisions. What I would like to see is Michigan provide funding for a legal aid clinic that will file to expunge the arrest records of everyone that Melendez arrested. They should get a fresh start so they have hope of getting gainful employment.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. Two sides to a story

    A good example of a dysfunctional man who was able to take his anger and hostility and channel it into a position of public service. Sad that the system is structured to allow this to happen. I hope that the communities involved have learned a valuable lesson! Certainly someone who has problems in one location should not be hired in another.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Two sides,
      Re:

      “Certainly someone who has problems in one location should not be hired in another”

      That’s it in a nutshell, particularly in positions of authority to change the course of lives with arrests.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Judge Vonda Evans is my new hero.
    Love how she calls out the toxic police culture and the pathetic pretense that nobody understands them, boo hoo.
    On the contrary, we understand all too well that the police force is a haven for racists, sadists, and just plain assholes. Fist-bumping and congratulating each other on what inhuman pieces of garbage they are. Bummer that this one will likely be in prison for less than a year. Of course he will be given special protected status inside, lest some of his former victims take the opportunity for revenge.
    And there is still a chance that he will escape justice entirely.
    Such a pity that cops don’t get paid as much as they and some others think they should. Maybe cities could afford to pay them better if the cities weren’t going broke from compensating victims of police brutality.
    Cops also have the opportunity to do stuff like fake injuries and go on total disability pay, for life, while working another job – like one of the cops did who “investigated” Kendrick Johnson’s death. I don’t have many tears to spare for them.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hey Pat! Judge Evans sounds practical. I too enjoyed her approaching the “nobody understands our job” hypothesis. We understand enough to appreciate those who “serve and protect” while also seeing that when some only serve their own malicious purposes and protect themselves with lies.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. yahtzeebutterfly

    Xena,

    This from your article bears repeating:

    “Not only has Melendez showed a pattern of causing harm to individuals, but his actions result in causing financial harm to the residents who pay for his criminal behavior. This pattern keeps citizens in a state of oppression, taking a step up, and then taking two steps back, never getting ahead.”

    Yes, there is real harm to the community. Melendez’s horrific, brutal beating and choking of Floyd amidst a whole police culture that would then mock Floyd back at the station did ALSO
    cause financial harm to the whole community.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yahtzee,
      Thanks for your comment. There is perception among some, including White Supremacists, that holds Blacks responsible for oppressive conditions. Their argument is that Blacks have equal opportunity. That perception is very limited, and only applies to employment. At the same time, they are hypocrites alleging that Blacks are not oppressed. That is a generalization. The situation with Melendez is a prime example of how the actions of one person can cause financial harm to a community, and individual harm for those unlawfully or unjustly arrested.

      Pat Hartman expressed an idea once that members of law enforcement should be required to carry liability insurance. In my opinion, that would be a start of taking the financial burden off municipalities for legal fees and judgments. I would like to see the states pass legislation that whenever there has been an arrest, but no conviction, that the case is automatically expunged. That will take the financial burden off its citizens to petition the court to expunge, and give them a peace of mind when applying for employment.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am happy for the conviction. He could be out in 13 months, or actually 10 since he was given 90 days credit for time served.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mindmyme, I hope he spends 10 years in prison. The 90 days credit was only for the second count. The first count is up to 10 years. Maybe even now he’s gotten a taste of what he did to others by putting them in jail, losing hope for the future, and being apart from their families.

      Like

  6. What you guys and gals all said. I cannot believe other officers didn’t kick his ass for the permanent public black eye he gave the whole dept.

    He’s been indicted in 12 Federal suits and nobody picked up on him, ???

    Hey……..!!!!!!! Mr. Mayor !! I’d like a word with you and bring the Director of Public Safety and the Chief along………….dude…..we need to talk.

    Like

    • Hey Racer,
      Melendez was named a defendant in 12 lawsuits filed in the federal court. He was indicted on charges once by the feds. After that case, he was hired by Inkster.

      Yes — please have that talk with the decision makers.

      Like

  7. This officer was garbage…. he has a history of oppression of African Americans dating back to 1997. Despite almost 20 years of infractions, complaints, investigations and lawsuits, Michigan turned a blind eye to his atrocious conduct and acquiesced his unconscionable behavior and are equally responsible for his rain of terror on the African American community. Judge Vonda Evans so eloquently took him to task. The irony, an African American Judges sentences him with such tact and compassion, more than I would have showed him.

    Liked by 1 person

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