A brutal police-beating video near Detroit has caught a lot of national attention, and the story just got worse for the officer in the center of the the focus.
If you haven't followed the story up to this point, here's the background, from ThinkProgress. (You can read the full story here.) --
The police officer caught on tape brutally beating an unarmed Michigan man goes by the name “Robocop.” He’s been sued “at least four times for excessive use of force, cost the city more than $1 million in legal settlements and received more citizen complaints than any other in the city,” according to an LA Times 2003 report. One million-dollar payout was over the fatal shooting of an unarmed man during a traffic stop in 1996. And he faced federal corruption charges but was later acquitted for a three-year corruption campaign that included false accusations of drug possession very similar to those against Floyd Dent.
And yes, that's not the bad part.
(In the full article, they explain Officer Melendez's acquittal, from comments by jury members told afterwards. "Their reason for acquitting the officers was that they didn’t believe the government witnesses because they had criminal records of their own, and thus retained reasonable doubt about whether the cops were guilty. They conceded that officers likely made mistakes, but that they didn’t warrant a criminal conviction." Hardly a glowing stamp of innocence. Particularly given the latest charges, and others.)
Anyway, the bad part of this story is that although Floyd Dent, was charged with possession of cocaine -- a new video has been released that purportedly shows Officer William "Robocop" Melendez planting a bag of cocaine. It's not perfectly clear in the video, but damning enough for WDIV, an NBC affiliate, to run this long story. It's worth noting that Floyd Dent is a 57-year-old with no criminal history, who has worked at Ford for 37 years.
This alone is hardly proof. And what's seen on the video is, as I said, not definitive, and there could certainly be many explanations. Of course, one of those explanations could be that it's cocaine being planted. As Mr. Dent's lawyer notes, "You're not going to find his fingerprints on it it."
By the way, if there's any "levity" in this video, it is Floyd Dent's lawyer, who if he went into a casting director's office to audition for the role of "flouncy lawyer" would likely be thrown out for overacting. Though his "outrage" certainly is impactful here.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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