A former suburban Detroit police officer caught on camera repeatedly punching, kicking and tasering an unarmed black man during a traffic stop will stand trial, a district court judge ruled Thursday afternoon.
Former Inkster, Michigan, officer William Melendez was charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm and misconduct in office and fired after a January incident involving Floyd Dent, who was stopped after running a stop sign.
Wayne County District Court Judge Sabrina Johnson found there was enough evidence to put Melendez on trial Thursday afternoon, approving an additional charge of assault with strangulation after Dent testified in court and recounted the night he was arrested.
Melendez’s next court date is set for June 10.
Dash-cam video shows Melendez dragging Dent out of his vehicle, putting him in a choke hold and striking him repeatedly during a traffic stop on Jan. 28. The video was first obtained and released by NBC affiliate WDIV in March.
"Why you beating on me like this?" Dent can be heard asking after he was thrown onto the hood of a police cruiser.
A judge dismissed various charges against Dent following the video’s release, including resisting arrest and assaulting a police office. Prosecutors also dropped drug charges against Dent, who claimed police planted a bag of crack cocaine in his car during the stop. He admitted to driving on a suspended license at the time.
In March, Dent passed a lie detector test where he was asked whether he verbally threatened the officers, if the police were correct about him having crack cocaine in his vehicle and if he was lying about the drugs. He answered "No," to each question and passed, NBC affiliate WDIV reported.
Judge Johnson's decision follows Dent settling his lawsuit with the city of Inkster for $1.4 million on Wednesday, according to WDIV.
"Money isn't everything," Dent, told the station. "You can't buy happiness."