You may recall the story of Floyd Dent – A Michigan man beaten, choked, and tased after police pulled him from his car at gunpoint during a traffic stop in January.
Inkster Police said 57-year-old Dent was found in possession of cocaine, had refused to show his hands, and made a verbal threat towards the officers. Results of a polygraph test, however, told a different story – as did dash-cam video of the incident.
The footage showed Dent receive 16 blows to the head, a kick to the arm, and multiple taser strikes.
“I’m lucky to be living,” Dent said at the time. “I think they were trying to kill me, especially when they choked me. I was on my last breath. I told them, ‘Officer please, I can’t breathe.’”
Police said they followed Dent’s car into a suburban Detroit neighborhood known for drug dealing and pulled him over for failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign.
Police claimed Dent was trying to flee in his car, but dashcam footage clearly shows Dent comply with officers by pulling over before opening his car door, in order to address them. At no point does the footage show any attempt at retreat, or threatening actions.
“Next thing I know, he took out his gun. He’s talking about blowing off my head,” Dent said. “Then he grabbed me out the car and started beating on me. I just couldn’t believe it.”
Dent can be seen bleeding profusely from his head as officers escort him to a patrol car.
Watch the raw footage:
Dent was arrested on numerous charges, including driving with a suspended license, resisting a police officer, simple assault and battery of a police officer, and possession of crack cocaine, which police allege was found in the car.
In lieu of the video, as well as a polygraph test Dent passed with flying colors, the officers’ claims came under suspicion. Eventually, all charges against Dent were dropped and he filed a civil lawsuit.
He settled that suit with the city of Inkster for $1.4 Million, last week.
The only problem is, the city cant seem to come up with the money. But don’t worry, local officials have a solution – a tax hike.
Thats right, Inkster is seeking a one-time tax hike this summer from residents. The July 1 tax bill levies 6.45 mills, city treasurer Mark Stuhldreher said Monday. For a resident who has property with a $40,000 market value, that means roughly $130 more, he said.
Inkster’s liability insurance policy allows only for payouts above $2 million, Mayor Hilliard Hampton said, and although the city has a surplus and is out of debt, a consent agreement it has operated under for several years restricts tapping the general fund to finalize such settlements.
The higher tax is due by Aug. 31.
Citing the city’s average delinquency rate, Stuhldreher said he expected 70 percent to be paid through February before delinquent taxes are turned over to the county, with the rest by late June 2016.
“If an entity cannot pay the judgment, the party can put it on the next available tax roll,” Stuhldreher said. “What it functionally becomes is a tax, and it’s collected in the same manner as any other property tax, per the General Property Tax Act.”
Inkster must pay an initial installment of at least $75,000 by July 10, “with the balance paid in increments as they are collected.” Mills have been levied in Inkster four other times since 2013, Stuhldreher said.
The now fired Inkster Police officer seen in the footage applying the chokehold to Dent is Ex-Detroit Police Officer William Melendez – who was known as “Robocop” in that department.
While working in Detroit, Melendez was indicted along with 16 other officers in 2003 for the charges of planting evidence, falsifying reports, and stealing seized cash and property.
A jury found Melendez not guilty, but he is again facing claims of planting evidence and falsifying reports in connection with Dent’s cocaine charge.
Last week, Melendez began his criminal trial on charges of misconduct in office and assault with intent to do great bodily harm. Judge Sabrina Johnson also allowed the prosecution’s request for an additional charge of assault by strangulation: a 10-year felony.