INKSTER (WWJ/AP) - Officials in Inkster have fired a white police officer who was captured on video beating a black motorist during a traffic stop.
Teamsters Local 214 representative Al Lewis told reporters that Officer William Melendez was fired from the Inkster Police Department on Wednesday following a five-day suspension.
Melendez, who remains employed as a part-time officer in Highland Park, is one of the officers involved in the controversial arrest of 57-year-old Floyd Dent back in January.
Lewis has called Melendez's termination "political."
"The supervisor on the shift did his investigation and evidently found nothing wrong because Officer Melendez was on the road for another six weeks after that," Lewis told the Detroit News. "It wasn't until Dent got an attorney and all of a sudden the video is on TV that they decided to fire this guy."
Separate dash cam video of the Jan. 28 incident shows two officers throwing Dent to the ground and Melendez repeatedly punching him in the head during his arrest.
Dent said he was innocent and trying to protect himself during the January traffic stop, while police counter he resisted arrest and threatened them.
Police say Dent refused to stop and had cocaine in the car. Dent says police planted the cocaine. He returns to court April 29 on a drug charge.
A District Court judge earlier dismissed charges of fleeing police and resisting arrest after viewing police dash-cam video – which went viral online.
There are no criminal charges against Melendez, though an investigation by the Michigan State Police is ongoing.
Meantime, at a hearing Wednesday, Wayne County Circuit Judge David Groner asked that prosecutors provide Dent's lawyers with more police booking video. Floyd's co-counsel, Nick Bennett, claimed police video previously released to the defense was highly edited — including only about 20 percent of the available footage.
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