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Jury deliberations underway in Inkster police beating case

William Melendez in court.
Sarah Cwiek
Michigan Radio

A jury is now considering the fate of former Inkster police officer William Melendez.

Melendez faces assault and misconduct charges for beating motorist Floyd Dent during a traffic stop in January.

Melendez is accused of “abusing his power” when he put Dent in a chokehold and struck him 16 times during a violent arrest, which wascaptured on police dashcam video.

During closing arguments Wednesday, attorney Jim Thomas says dashcam video of that beating doesn’t tell the whole story.

Thomas says Melendez used “reasonable” force with Dent. He alleged Dent was high on cocaine, and “combative” with officers and hospital staff.

“He knew he was dirty,” Thomas said of Dent. “He knew he bought drugs and used them, he knew they would show up, and he didn’t want to make evidence.”

Wayne County prosecutor Bob Donaldson says none of that is true, and the police video speaks for itself.

“You don’t need a movie critic to tell you what’s on there,” Donaldson told the jury. “That’s up to you.”

Melendez chose not to testify in his own defense.

The jury resumes deliberations Thursday morning.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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