Michigan cops probed over violent traffic stop

Police officers in a Detroit suburb are under investigation for a violent traffic stop. Dashcam video from January shows an officer beating and using a Taser on 57-year-old Floyd Dent.

Dent, a former auto worker with no criminal history, and the cops, have differing stories describing how the traffic stop turned into a bloody beat down, reports CBS News correspondent Vinita Nair.

It's another case involving white cops and a black suspect in a city that is largely African American, with questions of whether excessive force was used. Officers say they thought he was reaching for a gun. Dent says he was framed.

Seconds after the two Inkster, Michigan, police officers approach Dent's car, they pull him to the street.

No audio of the incident exists, but according to Dent, the officers told him to, "get out the car" or they'd "blow [his] brains out."

Once on the ground, one of the officers put him in a chokehold, then began punching him in the head -- 16 times according to Dent's lawyer.

"I told him 'I can't breathe' and he kept on choking me," Dent said.

More officers arrived and used the Taser on him at least three times before he was finally brought to his feet, his face bloodied and clothes torn. Officers put Dent in the back of the patrol car.

According to the police report, the arresting officer, William Melendez, said he thought Dent was reaching for a gun, ignored orders to show his hands and threatened to kill them.

Melendez also said cocaine was found under the passenger seat of Dent's car. No weapon was found and Dent said the drugs were planted. He also denies making threats or biting the officer.

"It's really important to know we're not hiding from this. We started the investigation. We launched internal investigation without a complaint being filed," Inkster Police Chief Vicki Yost said.

A local pastor led a march outside the police department Wednesday demanding the two officers that stopped Dent be arrested.

Dent's attorney, Gregory Rohl, is asking for patience from the community.

"We're saying essentially, 'let the system work,'" Rohl said. "We believe it will work. We believe justice will prevail."

Dent has his own idea of justice.

"To me, justice is having the person that done this to me locked up," he said.

A district judge threw out two of the three original charges, assault and resisting arrest, after reviewing the dashcam tape. Dent still faces the drug charge.

The arresting officer William Melendez was accused of misconduct previously, when he worked at the Detroit Police Department.

In 2004, federal prosecutors charged Melendez and seven other officers with civil rights abuses, including planting evidence. Melendez and the other officers were acquitted.