Three Michigan cops are claiming that they were defending themselves after video of them brutally beating a Black man was released.
Footage obtained by WDIV shows three officer pummeling 57-year-old Floyd Dent during a traffic stop gone wrong.
Dashcam video shows that Floyd was driving at a consistent speed until he stopped for police, but it looks like one of the officers drew their gun on him before he stepped out of the car.
Floyd, who has no criminal record, was driving on a suspended license; he still doesn’t understand why cops stopped him or why they attacked him. Authorities were monitoring a spot in Inkster, Michicgan, which was known to have drug activity. They became suspicious when Floyd rolled through the area without coming to a complete stop.
“The next thing I know, the officer runs up to me with his gun, you know, talking about blowing my head off,” Floyd said. “Then he grabbed me out of the car and started beating on me, you know. I just couldn’t believe it.”
Police reports state that the first officer put Floyd in a choke hold and punched him in the head 16 times while another one tried to handcuff him. A third officer then approached the melee and tasered Floyd three times as several other cops arrived at the scene.
Cops said they told Floyd to put both of his hands up after they approached his car, but they could only see one of them. The officers also claim that Floyd threatened them by saying “I’ll kill you,” but there is no audio of him making any such statement since none of the cops’ body microphones were on.
According to WDIV, it’s unclear whether the officers had turned off the recording devices or whether they were simply malfunctioning. However, Floyd’s attorney believes this seems pretty suspicious, questioning, “You have six responding vehicles. Not one officer is equipped with a microphone to take down this alleged threat.”
While recalling the traumatic incident is very upsetting for Floyd, he is happy to have survived it because he thought the officers would have beaten him to death. “I’m lucky to be living. I think they was trying to kill me, especially when they had choked me,” he told WDIV. “I mean, I was on my last breath. I kept telling the officer, ‘Please, I can’t breathe.’”
His statement might bring to mind some of Eric Garner’s last words before an NYPD officer put him in a deadly chokehold last summer.
Floyd’s attorney believes that this incident is especially because all of the officers that responded to this brutal traffic stop are White. The legal rep explained, “In this type of climate, it’s just remarkable that these types of things still go on. It’s amazing. It amazes me. It’s shocking and disturbing.”
Michigan State Police are currently investigating the situation. Floyd was accused of fleeing cops and resisting arrest, but a judge dismissed those because he didn’t see any evidence of either claim in the dashcam footage. Conversely, the judge said there was no evidence that he was assaulted either. Although no drugs were found in his system, Floyd is still facing charges for possession of cocaine.
He was offered a plea deal with probation, but he turned it down because he refuses to confess to a crime he did not commit.