[There was a video here]
Michigan state police are investigating a January incident in which Floyd Dent, a black man who was unarmed, was pulled from his car and beaten and tasered during a traffic stop in the town of Inkster. Several of the charges against Dent were dropped after the release of the dashcam video above.
The footage, released by Dent's attorney and published by local news outlet WDIV last week, shows Inkster police officers pulling Dent over after he runs a stop sign. As two officers approach Dent's stopped car, Dent opens the door, prompting one of the officers to raise his already-drawn gun. The other officer—an auxiliary cop—then appears to forcibly remove Dent from the car and bring him to the ground, at which point the first officer puts him in a headlock and begins repeatedly punching his head.
Dent, who has no criminal record, told the Guardian he opened his door because he "wanted to let them know I'm unarmed." He also said that he suffered a fractured orbital, four broken ribs, and blood in his brain, and spent two days in the hospital.
William Melendez, the officer seen punching Dent, testified that Dent bit his arm and threatened to kill the officers—allegations that Dent denies—and that Dent had attempted to flee in his car. But the full dashcam video does not appear to show any such escape attempt, and as NBC notes, all of the involved officers' microphones were apparently turned off during the scuffle, so there is no evidence to substantiate Melendez's claim about threats.
MILive.com reports that in 2003, while working for the Detroit police, Melendez was indicted along with a group of other officers on "claims the police planted evidence, falsified reports and stole seized cash and property." Melendez was found not guilty, but the allegations against him resonate. Dent remains in court on charges that police found crack cocaine in his car—the only charge against him that stuck—but maintains that the police planted the drugs. According to Dent's attorney, his client was offered a plea deal but turned it down because he didn't want to acknowledge guilt for a crime he didn't commit.