On Thursday November 19, former Inkster police officer William Melendez was found guilty of assault with intent to do great bodily harm in the beating of a motorist during a traffic stop. The beating of 58-year-old Floyd Dent, who is black, was captured on video. Melendez was also charged with assault by strangulation, however he was cleared of that charge. He was also found guilty of misconduct in office.
The incident which led to the charged occurred in January, when Melendez pulled Dent over for disregarding a stop sign. A dash cam video captured the scene, which according to news reports shows Melendez punching Dent in the head 16 times. Following airing of the footage on a local news station, Melendez was terminated. Dent suffered several injuries including blood on his brain and broken ribs, and was awarded $1.4 million by the city of Inkster, a Detroit suburb.
Melendez’s attorney said during the trial that his client was justified in assaulting Dent, because the defendant resisted police and was aggressive at the time of the traffic stop. He also said that following his December 3rd sentencing hearing, Melendez plans to appeal his conviction.
News reports claim that Dent was driving with a suspended license at the time of the stop, and that he has a long history of driving violations. Dent had been charged with possession of drugs and resisting arrest following the incident, however those charges were dropped. He maintains that the drugs in his vehicle were planted by police.
Assault with intent to do great bodily harm is a serious crime, charged as a felony. When found guilty, the defendant may face criminal penalties which include fines of up to $5,000 and/or up to 10 years in prison. However, as in every criminal case prosecutors must prove each element of the specific crime the defendant is charged with. Defendants have constitutional rights that must be protected, and are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The key to achieving a not guilty verdict in assault GHB in many cases is having a highly capable and skilled Michigan criminal defense attorney to represent the defendant. Anyone facing criminal charges must have a lawyer who will thoroughly investigate, examine the evidence, consider all legal options, and work diligently to develop a solid defense strategy. In essence, you must have a defense attorney who is willing to fight on your behalf and leave no stone unturned in his or her effort to obtain a great result. While there is never a guarantee a defendant will be found not guilty, the right attorney can make a substantial difference in the outcome.