The half-human, half-robot RoboCop who patrolled Old Detroit’s streets in the nihilistic 1987 film thought nothing of brutalizing (or even neutering) criminals—but at least he was mandated to protect the innocent. William Melendez, the former Detroit-area cop who was nicknamed after the cyborg, was known for being one of the guilty.
He was fired earlier this year from the suburban Inkster police force after a video showed him beating Floyd Dent halfway to death after a routine traffic stop, then trying to plant drugs in his car (presumably, to substantiate the abuse). Dent, then 57, initially faced drug charges himself. He was later cleared and was awarded a $1.4 million settlement from the city.
Melendez was arguably America’s most savage cop. Before this incident, he’d received more citizen complaints than any Detroit police officer during the 16 years he served. Named in 12 separate lawsuits for assaulting citizens, Melendez was shown to have cost the city millions. Now, at last, he’ll pay the price.
Melendez was convicted on Thursday on two of three counts: assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, and misconduct in office. He got off on the third count, assault by strangulation, but he’ll be sentenced on December 3. He faces up to 10 years in prison. I’d buy that for a dollar.