Protesters are expected this week to continue demonstrations against police brutality in wake of a video showing Inkster police officers beating 57-year-old Floyd Dent of Detroit.
Dent was pulled over late one night in January after an officer observed him not coming to a full stop at a stop sign. Within moments, the officers are seen on a patrol car video pulling Dent out of his Cadillac, with one repeatedly throwing punches into the Ford auto workers’ temple.
“It was very sickening,” said Rev. Charles William II, president of the National Action Network’s Michigan chapter. “Most people who have watched it, or have seen it, or anyone who else has been around to see it, are in disbelief.”
The accounts of what took place that night vary wildly between Dent and the Inkster officers who pulled him over. To Dent, he says he was simply trying to park his car in an area on Inkster Drive he felt safe. Officers say he was eluding them. Dent swears he tried to make it clear he was unarmed; officers, including one nicknamed “RoboCop,” deemed him a threat. In the end, Dent was arrested for resisting arrest, assault, and possession of cocaine, which Dent claims the officers planted.
Whatever the case, the treatment Dent received at the hands of Inkster officers — alongside four state troopers — has unequivocally blown observers away.
Charles Blow, the New York Times
on Monday, “So much about Dent’s case is troublesome, and so he has become the latest touchstone in our coalescing conversation about the intersection of police forces and communities of color, particularly in the parts of this country that African-Americans fled to in search of a better life.”
Local police chiefs were equally troubled by the incident, including former Inkster Police Chief Hilton Napoleon, who resigned last July.
“It was troubling,” he told MT
. “You know, you have some officers there who should not be doing police work, who do not have the integrity … the fortitude to do police work.”
Protests are planned today at 4:30-6:30 p.m. outside the Inkster Police Department. That’s the day Dent goes before an Inkster District Court judge on the remaining drug charge. The judge dismissed the other two upon viewing video of the incident.
Then, on Friday, Williams’ National Action network is expected to convene a demonstration at 10 a.m. at the location Dent was pulled over. From there, protesters are expected to head to the Inkster police headquarters.
“This police department definitely needs a wake up call,” Williams said.