State court OKs boot camp for ex-cop in Inkster beating

The Detroit News

The former Inkster officer convicted of brutally beating a motorist during a traffic stop can serve part of his sentence in a boot camp program, a state court has ruled.

The decision Thursday by the Michigan Court of Appeals to allow boot camp for William Melendez overturns an April 4 ruling by Judge Vonda Evans of Wayne County Circuit Court. Evans amended her original sentencing order, which allowed boot camp.

In her ruling, Evans wrote, “The Court is modifying the order and objecting to boot camp at this time. The Court will reconsider at a later date.”

James Thomas, an attorney for Melendez, asked the state appeals court April 8 to vacate Evans’ modified sentencing order. A message was left with Thomas seeking comment Friday.

In February, Evans sentenced Melendez to at least 13 months and up to 10 years in prison for beating Floyd Dent. Videotaped footage of the January 2015 beating went viral, sparking protests against police brutality.

Melendez, who was fired from the police force after the beating, was convicted in November on assault and misconduct charges. He was acquitted of a third charge of strangulation.

In a statement Friday, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy blasted the decision.

“It is unconscionable to me that the Michigan Department of Corrections would irresponsibly and recklessly decide that former police officer Melendez, who was convicted of assault with the intent to do great bodily harm for the police beating of Floyd Dent, should be placed in its boot camp program,” Worthy said. “This is outrageous. We argued at his sentencing that he should serve far more than what he was given, and this decision adds insult to injury – literally. The fact that he is even eligible for Boot Camp speaks to the need for an immediate change the eligibility standards.”