Video taken last January of a traffic stop, which quickly turned violent, has sparked protests and launched an internal investigation. As the Inquisitr previously reported, the dash-cam video of the attack was released to the public on Wednesday, which quickly went viral. The Inkster, Michigan police officers involved in the violent traffic stop are under investigation by the Michigan State Police Department.
The video shows Dent opening his car door after he was pulled over. As Dent opens his car door, an officer meets him and draws a gun, aiming it at Dent. After officers dragged him from his car, they reportedly forced him face down on the ground and placed him in a chokehold. According to Dent, he was punched in the head sixteen times while in the choke hold.
The Huffington Post reports the video shows Dent attempting to cover his face as he’s being punched. Another officer used a taser on Dent three times, and a third officer attempted to put handcuffs on him. Dent’s face is visibly bloody and his clothes were torn when he was placed into the back of the patrol car.
There is no recorded audio of the violent traffic stop, but Dent says the officers told him to “get out of the car” or “they’d blow [his] brains out.”
According to Inkster Police Chief Vicki Yost at a press conference held Thursday, the violent traffic stop was investigated immediately after it occurred. She also said the Michigan State Police Department are conducting an independent investigation. Chief Yost would only say one officer has been taken off patrol duty.
“It’s important that the investigation takes its course. We are not afraid of following the facts and we’ll take appropriate action but it needs to be independent, it needs to be thorough and it needs to be impartial. I don’t want to rush any conclusions.”
Chief Yost also said of the traffic stop, “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.”
The arresting officer, William Melendez, has been investigated for misconduct before he worked for Inkster. While with the Detroit Police Department in 2004, Melendez was charged, along with seven other officers, with civil rights abuses including planting evidence; however, Melendez and the other officers were acquitted.
Dent’s attorney Greg Rohl believes race played a role in the violent traffic stop, telling WDIV-TV nine white officers responded. Dent was unarmed and did not have a prior record when he was pulled over.
[Image courtesy of NBC News]