Meet “RoboCop”: The Cop Who Has the Most Complaints Against Him and Still Gets Away With It
No one knows how William Melendez earned the nickname “RoboCop”; however, one thing is for sure: the police officer is well acquainted with dodging punishment for his reported wrongful conduct.
He has a well-publicized list of cases against him.
On various occasions he has been accused of planting evidence, wrongfully killing civilians, producing false police reports and carrying out unlawful arrests.
At one point, while he was employed by Detroit police, he had complaints against his name than any other officer in the department.
The suburb of Inkster is expected to pay huge sums as payout to his victims – but, things are not as straightforward.
The budget is tight and every time a settlement is reached, the amount is passed on as tax to the residents.
This week Melendez is on trial for physically assaulting a 58-year-old man after pulling him out of his car during a regular traffic stop.
On the night of January 28 this year Inkster resident Floyd Dent admits he was driving his Cadillac on a suspended license. The police report states that Melendez pulled him over after he had disobeyed a traffic signal and disregarded a stop sign.
The African American citizen was unarmed and eventually did stop his car close to an old police station. He then opened his door and put both his hands out the window.
Nonetheless, Melendez says he believes the driver was reaching for a gun.
Moments later the officer walked up to him with his weapon drawn and then proceeded to drag him out of his car and immediately placed him in a chokehold.
The outraged cop then punched Dent’s temple well over her dozen times.
The victim says after a certain point he just decided to give up.
“I thought that was it for me.”
Little did he know, his ordeal was far from over. Another cop joined Melendez during the violent outburst and used a taser on Dent at least thrice.
The episode left the civilian with blood streaming down his face. Dash cam footage shows he did not resist when Melendez tried to arrest him. The violent episode ended with Dent landing in hospital with a fractured left orbital, blood on the brain and broken ribs.
He had been accused of possessing cocaine, but the Wayne County prosecutor’s office decided to drop the charges abruptly after a video of the incident was released by a local media outlet in March.
Despite damning evidence and even his department supporting the victim, Melendez says he did not do anything wrong.
He faces felony charges including misconduct while in office, assault with intent to do great body harm less than murder and abuse by strangulation. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.
For the officer, the use of excessive force is nothing new. In 1996, Melendez and his partner shot dead a local man, one witness account suggested he fired another 11 times while the victim was on the ground. According to court records, this matter was settled for a whopping $ 1.05 million.
In the following years a federal grand jury indicted him from breaching civil rights. The police officer and his accomplices had stolen guns money and drugs from several accused persons- not only this they planted weapons and broken into houses without legal permission.
In one instance a man says he wrongfully ended up spending just over seven months in jail for possession of a firearm. The victim, Darryl Chancellor, in his testimony suggests that Melendez put his own weapon atop the former’s vehicle.
He is reported to have said: “Chancellor, this is your gun,”. Just as Dent, this man’s charges were dropped too - unfortunately for him this was not as swift as the Inkster man stop.
The city, which is already hard-pressed for money has now decided to pay Dent or $ 1.38 million settlement. Residents of the suburb have borne the brunt of this financial blow and homeowners will face a one-off tax increase to raise funds.
In addition to this, the city is also expected to compensate another victim for $ 100,000. Melendez had choked Deshawn Acklin so severely that he lost consciousness.
The truth however, is that the officer only stopped beating him until another cop told him it was too much. The court filing reveals that he was so brutally abused that passed out from extreme discomfort and a lack of oxygen.
The impact of the violence was so serious that he defecated on himself when he fainted. Acklin suffered a closed head injury, a left foot sprain and bleeding from his eyes. He too was never charged with a crime.
For his compensation, residents will need to pay an extra $15 - $20 on their property tax bill.