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.
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.
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.
In 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.
Secret Video in the police station
Posted on 02/09/2016, in Cases, civil rights, Cops Gone Wild, Trial Videos and tagged dashcam, Floyd Dent, Inkster, Judge Evans, Robocop, sentencing, video, William Melendez. Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.