Inkster hires new police chief after Dent beating

Lauren Abdel-Razzaq
The Detroit News

Inkster — The city of Inkster has hired a police chief to replace the department head who resigned days after an officer was charged with assault in the bloody beating of a motorist.

William Riley is scheduled to be sworn in Monday as Inkster’s chief. The former top cop in Selma, Alabama, is the permanent replacement for Vicki Yost, who resigned in April.

In Selma, Riley managed 55 sworn officers and 46 civilian personnel that included jailers, animal control officers and crossing guards, according to his online resume.

He led a restructuring of the Police Department and helped reduce crime by 9.2 percent since he started the job in 2008.

Before that, he served as captain of the criminal investigations division.

He spent time with the Newport News police in Virginia and served in the Navy and with the Navy Reserve between 1997 and 2003.

Riley’s appointment comes after Inkster Police Officer William Melendez was fired.

Melendez is scheduled for an October trial stemming from the Jan. 28 incident in which Floyd Dent was pulled from his car and beaten. Melendez is charged with misconduct in office, assault with intent to do great bodily harm, and strangulation, a 10-year felony. He denies wrongdoing.

Dent was charged with cocaine possession and resisting or assaulting an officer, but both charges were later dismissed. A $1.4 million settlement has been reached between Dent and the city.

When Yost said she was leaving the department, she told The Detroit News that she and city officials disagreed on how to run the department in the wake of the videotaped arrest.

As a result, she gave the city 30 days’ notice “to be professional and give them a transition” but the city opted for an immediate departure.

Yost said she would take the summer off to think about her future.

Following the resignation, the mayor and others described the need for stable leadership in the Police Department, which has seen two police chiefs leave in less than a year.