The Michigan cop known as Robocop will spend at least 13 months in prison for placing a man in a chokehold and punching him repeatedly in an incident captured on dash cam video.
However, that sentence can stretch up to ten years if he is not granted parole after the 13-month period.
But we know that won’t happen.
Robert Melendez, who was fired from the Inkster police department because of the incident, reacted in disbelief at the sentence Tuesday – even though it fell below the sentencing guidelines that range between 29 months to 57 months.
As if to make up for the lenient sentence, Wayne County Judge Vonda Evans scolded Melendez on his “Dirty Harry tactics” that he was known for throughout his long career, which included more than a decade at the Detroit Police Department where he earned his nickname.
Melendez apologized to Floyd Dent, the 58-year-old man who ended up in the hospital with broken ribs and blood in his brain from the beating after he was accused of running a stop sign on January 28, 2015.
Melendez then went into a spiel reciting a poem called the “The Final Inspection,” comparing himself to a soldier who deserves to go to heaven because he spent his time in hell.
The reality is, he made Dent go through hell as he has done to so many citizens in the past. And despite the conviction, he still believes he is above the law.
After all, as his attorney pointed out, he is an award-winning officer, a former “Officer of the Year,” according to Michigan Live.
Defense attorney James Thomas said Melendez is a man who “put on a uniform every day and went out into public not knowing what was going to happen,” “stood in front of people being shot at and protected them,” rushed into a burning building to save lives and, was once named Detroit police officer of the year and received at least 14 awards for his police work.
But he also received countless complaints and was sued several times, costing the city of Detroit more than a million back in 2003 when he was indicted for stealing drugs and money from suspects while planting guns, charges for which he was acquitted.
Dent accused him and other officers of planting cocaine on him the night of his arrest, a charge that was dismissed along with the assault on a police officer and resisting arrest charges.
Dent ended up receiving a $1.37 million settlement.
With his arms crossed, Melendez blinked frequently as Wayne County Circuit Judge Vonda Evans summarized her interpretation of the crime, calling his acts “cowardly” and “barbaric.”
She referred to the dash-camera that captured the arrest as the “eye of justice.”
“He was grabbed out thrown to the ground and struck 16 times in the head by the defendant,” Evans said. “Mr. Dent was struck, kicked and Tased while he was on the ground by a group” of officers who appeared to celebrate and bump fists afterwards.
Melendez, who was convicted in November, will also received 85 days credit for time served, so he’ll probably be released around the New Year where he will likely continue his private security business.
In a Facebook message to Photography is Not a Crime, Nick Bennett, one of Dent’s attorneys, explained how sentencing guidelines work in Michigan.
So in Michigan we used to have guidelines. Like six months ago. A judge had to stick within the guidelines for the minimum sentence. Maximum always stayed the same based on the offense. A case came out in the Supreme Court that said mandatory guidelines are unconstitutional so now they are advisory. Before, if a judge wanted to go outside the range there had to be substantial or compelling reasons. Now they can deviate however the want. So the max was always going to be ten years in this case the minimum advisory guidelines were 27-54. Just went way under.
Below is the dash cam video as well as the video of Judge Evans making her remarks. And below that is a video I made explaining why police awards are bullshit and used to manipulate judges as was done in this case.