Inkster cop who beat driver might leave prison in Dec.
A former Inkster police officer who was convicted of beating a motorist during a traffic stop could be released from prison in December, corrections officials said.
But prosecutors say William Melendez won’t be released that soon if they have a say in the matter.
Melendez was sentenced in February to 13 months to 10 years in prison with credit for time served since he was jailed in November. His conviction was formally logged in March.
His earliest release date is Dec. 15. This week, the parole board granted him conditional parole, Michigan Department of Corrections spokeswoman Holly Kramer said.
“A parole board interview took place, and he was given a conditional parole, based on him completing cognitive-based programming,” she said. “In the interim, the MDOC will continue to monitor his performance in prison and in this program, which will ultimately determine when he starts parole.”
Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Maria Miller said her office plans to object to the parole board’s decision.
“The Michigan Department of Corrections website reflects his earliest release date to be Dec. 15, 2016, however, it is unlikely that he will be released on that date,” Miller said in an email. “The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office will be filing a formal objection to his being early released.”
Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality spokesman Kenneth Reed called the decision a “travesty.”
“It comes down to the common everyday man — the victim — not getting justice,” he said. “My hope is that Melendez will never serve in a law enforcement capacity ever again. He is not fit to serve as a police officer.”
The longtime police officer was fired from the police force after a videotape showed him beating motorist Floyd Dent. Melendez, whose nickname was “Robocop,” was convicted in November on assault and misconduct charges. He was acquitted of strangulation.
Melendez did not take the stand in his own defense during his two-week trial.
The videotaped beating of Dent on Jan. 28, 2015, in an area off Michigan near Fairbairn, went viral on social media after Melendez is seen repeatedly beating Dent in the head.
Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Robert Donaldson had said Melendez struck Dent 16 times.
Melendez and other officers at the scene had claimed Dent resisted arrest after being ordered to get out of his car. Dent insisted he didn’t resist.
Michigan’s 10-member Parole Board is broken up into panels of two members who consider each prisoner’s application. One board member interviews the inmate, and passes the interview notes to the other panel member, along with a recommendation to either approve or deny the parole.
If the second board member agrees with the recommendation, the prisoner is either paroled or denied. If the second member disagrees, the issue goes to a third board member, who casts a tie-breaking vote.
According to a Detroit News source, the first person to interview Melendez denied his request, and wanted him to serve an additional 18 months. But the second member disagreed. A third board member voted to grant Melendez conditional parole, the source said.
Inkster settled a lawsuit by Dent, paying him $1.4 million.