Expert witness says ex-Inkster cop used acceptable force

An expert in use of force said that ex-Inkster police officer used acceptable force.

An ex-Inkster cop on trial for the incident that cost him his job.

The beating of Floyd Dent during a traffic stop was caught on dash cam video. But William Melendez says he was doing his job, now a jury must decide whether the officer went too far.

Demonstrating the difference between a choke hold and a headlock Wednesday, the defense called on Professor Aaron Westrick as a use of force expert.

Melendez is charged with assault, misconduct and strangulation for the beating of Floyd Dent during a traffic stop in January. Dent says after he pulled over, Melendez pulled him from his Cadillac and hit him in the head 16 times while choking him.

Attorney: "Would you say Dent would have stopped moving if he would've been choked out?

"Yes," Westrick said.

Deeply analyzing the dash cam video frame by frame, the defense argued Dent is seen swerving and rolling through stop signs. They argue any reasonable officer would have pulled him over, calling Dent "actively resisting" arrest.

"It appears Dent's hands come up in a punching like motion," Westrick said.

But during his cross-examination, the prosecution pointed out that Westrick has been a police officer for more than 30 years and has been shot in the line of duty. Westrick added that his son, also a police officer, has been assaulted in uniform.

Attorney: "Would it be fair to say your opinion is pro-police?"

"Not always," Westrick said.

The prosecution also arguing Westrick is culturally biased and being paid to testify.

Attorney: "Your whole analysis is covered by looking at one side?"

"I looked at the police reports, and I looked at the video," Westrick said.

The defense argues Dent reached to the right before opening his door and never stopped resisting arrest, until he was handcuffed. The prosecution says he appropriately pulled over  and was only trying to stop the blows to his head.

Attorney: "Would you have taken chances on Mr. Dent looking for his driver's license?"

"(Given the) circumstances, I would've acted in a similar fashion," Westrick said.

The trial will continue Thursday with defense attorney Jim Thomas saying he has one more witness to call and that he could rest his case Thursday. Melendez has still not taken the stand.

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