The black man who was pulled over, beaten, punched and shot with a Taser by police officers in Inkster, Michigan, spoke out about the experience on Thursday.
Appearing alongside his attorney Gregory Rohl on “All In With Chris Hayes,” Floyd Dent, a 57-year-old retired autoworker with no criminal record, said cops planted cocaine in his car during the stop in January.
WDIV broadcast police dashcam footage Tuesday that shows cops dragging Dent out of his vehicle to the ground. One officer places him in a chokehold and punches him in the head 16 times, while another officer tries to handcuff Dent. After more officers arrive, Dent is shot with a Taser three times, in the stomach and thigh. Police reports also indicate he was kicked.
Police said they stopped Dent for a traffic violation, and used force because they felt they were in danger after Dent told officers, “I’ll kill you.” The alleged threat wasn’t captured on the dashcam recording.
Dent told Hayes that during the beating, he heard someone say, “Tase that MF-er.” He also said he told the officers, “I can’t breathe” as he was on his last breath.
Police said Dent was driving with a suspended license and had cocaine under the passenger seat. But Dent said the drugs were planted. Drug tests on him came back negative.
After watching the video, a judge dismissed charges of assault and resisting arrest. But Dent still faces drug charges. He refused a plea deal for probation because “an innocent man does not plead guilty,” Rohl said.
The officer who placed Dent in a chokehold, Officer William Melendez. is a former Detroit officer who was charged in 2003 by the U.S. attorney’s office with planting evidence and falsifying reports, according to WDIV. A jury acquitted him of all charges.
Rohl told Hayes:
“It’s pretty obvious. If you look at the entirely of the tape … You can see [Melendez] go through the passenger’s compartment where allegedly the cocaine was found, and come out with his hands clear and clean of anything … Then he goes back to the car when the state troopers leave the scene, there’s another officer who steps in the middle of the camera, and you can see [Melendez] reach into his pocket, and sure enough start pulling some plastic bag out.”
Inkster police and Michigan State Police are investigating. Meanwhile, Melendez has been assigned to a desk job.