After more than a decade of accusations of abusing citizens, falsifying reports and planting drugs and weapons, the Michigan police officer known as Robocop was convicted today, putting an end to his less than stellar law enforcement career.
And it was only because the incident was captured on dash cam video.
William Melendez, who was fired from the Inkster Police Department in April after a dash cam video surfaced showing him pull over and beat a man named Floyd Dent, was found guilty of assault with intent to do great bodily harm and of misconduct in office.
The jury cleared him of a charge of assault by strangulation. He will be sentenced December 3 and faces up to ten years in prison.
He will remain incarcerated until then, a decision that prompted Robocop’s wife to storm out of the courtroom in a huff, but she was brought back in and scorned by the judge.
Dent, the 57-year-old veteran Ford Motor Company worker, did not attend the trial out of fear.
But two dozen Wayne County sheriff’s deputies along with a police dog were in attendance.
Our first impression was that they were there in support of Melendez as cops tend to pack the courtrooms in support of cops on trial.
But Melendez, a former Detroit police officer, never worked for the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office.
One of Dent’s attorneys, Nick Bennett, cleared up the confusion in a Facebook message interview with Photography is Not a Crime.
They bring in extra deputies when verdicts are being read if it is a high profile case, capital case, or cases where there is potential for the victim and/or defendants families to get rowdy when the verdict is read. I had a murder trial last year and they had even more deputies.
Bennett emphasized that he did not believe the deputies cared one way or another if Robocop was convicted.
In fact, it was a deputy under the judge’s orders who chased after Melendez’s wife when she stormed out.
Robocop himself did not testify nor did he say anything after the verdict, but he was probably speechless that karma had finally caught up to him.
This is a cop who has been sued various times throughout his career for excessive use of force, especially when he was a Detroit police officer, costing the city more than a $1 million in settlements, according to a 2003 Los Angeles article.
That was when he was preparing for another trial.
The group, allegedly headed by William “Robocop” Melendez, is accused of stealing guns, money and drugs from suspects, planting weapons and breaking into homes without search warrants, among other crimes. All 17 have pleaded not guilty.
More indictments, local and federal authorities say, are on the way.
Melendez was acquitted of the charges against him in 2004 and left the department in 2010, eventually becoming an Inkster police officer, a department out of a suburb in Metro Detroit, most likely still collecting a pension from the 18 years he spent at the Detroit Police Department.
Dent ended up receiving a $1.4 million settlement for the beating.
Melendez’s attorney argued that Dent deserved the beating because he resisted arrest.
But fortunately, the jurors were allowed to watch the video that showed the truth.