Video of police beating 'hard to watch,' says ex-chief
Nov. 10, 2015
DETROIT (AP) — A former Detroit-area police chief testified Tuesday that nothing on dashcam video seems to justify a bloody, 16-punch beating of a motorist by one of her officers last winter.
"I was uncomfortable with it," Vicki Yost said of the video during cross-examination by a prosecutor. "The video is hard to watch. Anyone would be foolish to say otherwise."
Yost testified in the trial of William Melendez, who is charged with assault and misconduct in office. He was an Inkster officer, and Yost was chief, when Floyd Dent was pulled from his car and repeatedly punched in the head last January.
Yost said she never talked to Dent, 58, about the beating because he didn't file a complaint.
The public didn't know about the incident until WDIV-TV aired the video in March. It led to an investigation and a quick $1.4 million settlement between Inkster and Dent.
Asked if the punches were justified, based on what's shown in the video, Yost told jurors: "No."
She said she resigned as police chief because of other issues. Melendez was fired.
Yost was first called as a defense witness Monday after prosecutors finished presenting evidence. She said officers struggled to arrest Dent because he was resisting.
Melendez is accused of putting Dent in a chokehold, which is contrary to Inkster police policy, but Yost described it as a "head restraint" across the chin, not under it.
Another Inkster officer, Sgt. Shawn Kritzer, said he used his Taser at least three times on Dent. He told jurors that 16 punches could be justified if Dent was biting Melendez.
Kritzer said Melendez showed him a red area on his arm.