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An ex-cop accused of using excessive force when he beat an unarmed driver during a traffic stop in suburban Detroit was convicted Thursday on two counts.
William Melendez, who was fired from the Inkster Police Department in April following the Jan. 28 incident, was found guilty of misconduct in office and assault with intent to do great bodily harm.
On a separate count of strangulation, he was found not guilty. Melendez's bond was revoked and he must remain in jail before he is sentenced Dec. 3. He faces up to 10 years in prison.
Driver Floyd Dent, 58, was repeatedly punched, kicked and Tasered in an incident caught on police dashcam video.
During the trial's opening last week, the nine black jurors and seven white jurors were presented the video and two different versions of events by the prosecution and the defense.
Defense attorney James Thomas had argued that all Dent had to do was "submit to putting his hands behind his back, which was all that was necessary."
But Dent's attorney, Robert Donaldson, said that the case represents a larger concern about the abuse of power by police.
Dent was initially charged with driving on a suspended license, possession of cocaine and assaulting or resisting a police officer. But those charges were dropped. Dent has maintained police planted the cocaine on him.
He settled in May for $1.4 million with the city of Inkster. Amid the public outcry in the case, the city's police chief resigned, two officers were suspended and Melendez was fired.
It took jurors four hours over two days to come to their decision.
Melendez did not speak after the verdict, but his wife stormed out of the courtroom, prompting the judge to stop the proceedings and call her back.
"Don't do my courtroom like that!" Wayne Circuit Court Judge Vonda Evans scolded her.
"For you to storm out like you are a kid is unacceptable," the judge added, before permitting her to leave.
Dent's case gained national attention as one of several involving police and excessive force in minority communities.
His attorney during the trial argued that citizens give police "enormous power."
"We give them power to take our lives," Donaldson said. "There are limits on that power."