Just because someone works within the legal system doesn’t mean they aren’t as fed up with it as the rest of us.
In a video that is quickly going viral, Michigan judge, Vonda Evans, uses her post-conviction statement to absolutely unload on an Inkster police officer who had been caught on tape viciously beating an African American man that he and his partner had stopped for a “minor traffic violation.”
The incident began when (former) officer William Melendez pulled over Floyd Dent and found that he was driving without a valid driver’s license. Almost immediately, Melendez escalated the situation, culminating in several fellow police officers and himself brutally beating the man, who would suffer severe injuries. All of it was caught on Melendez’s dashcam.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words,” Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Robert Donaldson said. “But video tells a story.”
He said Melendez’s partner, auxiliary officer John Zieleniewski — described by Donaldson as a “wannabe cop” — yanked Dent from the car and threw him to the ground.
Melendez then put Dent in a chokehold and hit him about 16 times for “no apparent reason,” Donaldson said, adding Dent did nothing but try to defend himself.
Judge Evans was clear that what happened wasn’t just an abuse of justice, but a racially-motivated one. In her statement, she didn’t hold back.
Here are some highlights:
“How humiliating and degrading that must have been,” she concluded, after speculating that the cops were “looking to do a n*****.” Off camera Melendez tries to interrupt and Evans isn’t having it.
2015, please be quiet in my courtroom. How does this happen? I’ll tell you how it happens…
Evans then recounts how 20 years sitting in a courtroom has destroyed a lot of the optimism she once had for the justice system. And people like Melendez, who abuse their authority, are largely to blame.
Melendez was sentenced to a minimum of 13 months in jail, but is looking at possibly 10 years.
In an emotional statement, his victim, Floyd Dent, said that he may someday find the courage to forgive his abuser, but his faith in law enforcement had understandably been shaken to its core.
While someday I may be able to forgive him as a man, no one should ever forgive what he did as a police officer.
If officers like Melendez disgrace the justice system; then the silver lining is that there are still people like Judge Evans who want to see it do better.
Watch the full video below:
Feature image via YouTube