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Inkster cop who beat driver released from prison

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

A former Inkster police officer who was convicted of beating a motorist during a January 2015 traffic stop was released from prison Tuesday, Corrections officials said.

William Melendez was sentenced in February to 13 months to 10 years in prison with credit for time served; he was jailed in November 2015.

“He was released this morning from the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility in Ionia, shortly before 9 a.m.,” said Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Chris Gautz in an email.

His conviction was formally logged in March.

The longtime police officer was fired from the force after a videotape showed him beating motorist Floyd Dent.

The beating on Jan. 28, 2015, off Michigan near Fairbairn spread over social media. It showed Melendez repeatedly striking Dent in the head.

Melendez, whose nickname was “Robocop,” was convicted in November 2015 on assault and misconduct charges. He was acquitted of strangulation.

Melendez did not take the stand during his two-week trial.

According to a parole report obtained by The Detroit News in November, Melendez suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and “has no idea why he assaulted and seriously injured a citizen that posed no meaningful threat to him or his partner.”

The PTSD was caused by his time in the military and years as an officer, prison authorities said in the report on Melendez.

Melendez said in the report that he assaulted Dent, a Detroit autoworker, because he was “trying to protect his fellow officers and in accordance with Inkster police protocol.”

Melendez alleged Dent “threatened to kill him and his partner,” but after reviewing the facts of the case, “Melendez indicated that he handled the situation poorly and if he had a chance to do it over again he would,” the report said.

Inkster settled a lawsuit by Dent, paying him $1.4 million.

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