IONIA, Mich (AP/WXMI)– A Detroit-area police officer whose bloody beating of a motorist was recorded on dash-cam video has been released from prison after 14 months in custody.
William Melendez was released Tuesday from a prison in Ionia. He was eligible for parole after serving 13 months of a maximum 10 year sentence, although Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy opposed it.
In 2015, Melendez pulled Floyd Dent from his car in Inkster and punched him in the head 16 times. Dent suffered broken ribs, blood on the brain and other injuries.
At the time, police claimed Dent had cocaine in the vehicle, but blood tests for the drug were negative. Dent also took a polygraph test and passed.
In 2016, Melendez was convicted of assault with intent to do great bodily harm and misconduct in office. During his sentencing, Melendez apologized to Dent and his family, and read a poem that’s well-known in the law enforcement community.
During that sentencing, a relative of Dent’s said he was only stopped by police because he was a “black man in a Cadillac.”
When told about Melendez’s release from prison on Tuesday, Dent said he has forgiven him for the beating. After the TV station WDIV aired the video of that traffic stop, the City of Inkster quickly agreed to a $1.4 million settlement with Dent.
Melendez was eventually fired from the police station. The department’s police chief resigned in April 2015 following the release of that footage.