An officer convicted of beating a Detroit motorist, gave an impassioned by remorseless statement before sentencing, explaining that he’s sorry if anyone thought his actions were unjust. The officer plans to appeal his case.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, officer William Melendez was filmed beating 58-year-old African-American motorist Floyd Dent, causing severe injuries including broken ribs and blood on his brain. The officer was later convicted of the beating and given at least 13 months in prison, but before the sentence, he asked for leniency. He gave a statement detailing his years of service in both the police force and the army, but carefully avoided apologizing for his crime.
In the statement, he said, “to the community, I am truly sorry that you believe my actions were unjust. Please have faith in your law enforcement officer, for many of them would risk their lives for yours.”
the Michigan police officer who brutally beat 58-year-old Floyd Dent sentenced to 13 months in prison https://t.co/r4EkCTxavK
— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) February 2, 2016
According to the Mlive, Melendez plans to appeal, meaning that apologizing for the beating could hurt the future of his case.
Despite the semantic tightrope, the former Inkster cop managed to say sorry to the Detroit motorist for “this.”
“To Mr. Dent and his family, I am truly sorry that this has caused undue hardships in your personal life, and if you have any animosity towards law enforcement that was not my intention.”
The Huffington Post reports that Floyd Dent suffered memory loss because of the beating. The motorist testified that he feared for his life and begged Melendez to stop. The officer reportedly punched Dent 16 times and then fist-bumped his nearby colleagues in celebration.
Last year, Dent received a $1.4 million settlement from the Detroit suburb of Inkster, which has a majority black population, but a majority white police force.
The incident happened over a year ago on January 28, 2015, and Melendez was convicted of assault and misconduct in office in November of that year in a Wayne County Circuit Court in Detroit.
During the recent sentencing, Circuit Court Judge Vonda Evans did not seem particularly impressed by Melendez’s pleas, calling his actions “barbaric.”
“You were so into your bravado that you forgot the eye of justice was watching you and recording this disgusting beating.”
The judge also addressed the need for the government to thoroughly train police officers and make sure they are adequately paid.
Melendez faces up to 10 years behind bars; his first chance at parole will come after 13 months. During his statement, the officer said sorry one other time, to his family.
“To my family, I am sorry, especially to my beautiful wife and my son, for they have suffered emotionally, physically and mentally during these long hard months.”
The Detroit beating case is one of many across the United States of white officers using excessive force, sometimes even killing, black suspects. Many of these incidents have led to large demonstrations, and sometimes riots, and to the creation of the Black Lives Matters movement.
— Detroit Free Press (@freep) February 3, 2016
President Barack Obama recently tried addressing some of the excesses by banning sales of some military-grade equipment from local police forces. The equipment — which includes grenade launchers, bayonets, and armored vehicles among others, according to USA Today — is sometimes misused by police forces, leading to strained relations between law enforcement and the community, according to a White House report.
As for the Detroit motorist beating, it’s not clear when Melendez’s appeal will begin, but the officer had time for a poem reading during his request for leniency. The poem was called “The Final Inspection,” and says, “those of us who carry badges can’t always be a saint,” in this case the judge believes that mindset went too far.
[Photo by Angelo Merendino/Getty Images]