The violent arrest of an African-American motorist by two white police officers in Inkster, Michigan, was caught on video and shows police brutally beating a man who claims he did nothing wrong.
Inskter police officers said they pulled over 57-year-old Floyd Dent for violating a traffic violation in January. The dashcam video, which was obtained by WDIV and released Tuesday, shows Dent opening the door to his car only to be met by an officer who draws his gun and aims it directly at him. Officers dragged Dent out of the vehicle, forced him face down to the ground and put him in a chokehold.
"I'm lucky to be living. I think they was trying to kill me, especially when they had choked me," Dent told WDIV. "I mean, I was on my last breath. I kept telling the officer, 'Please, I can't breathe.'"
According to police reports obtained by the TV station, the primary officer served 16 punches to Dent’s head, leaving his face bloody and body bruised. More officers arrived to the scene and attempted to place Dent in handcuffs. The video shows Dent attempting to cover his face to lessen the impact of the punches, while one officer uses a stun gun on him three times and a third tries to place him in handcuffs.
Police said they pulled Dent over for failing to make a complete halt at a stop sign. Dent, who was unarmed and has no criminal record, said he was not intentionally trying to get away, and video shows him driving at the same speed while cops followed behind him. Dent's account of the altercation differs significantly from that of police, who said that Dent threatened to kill the officers and bit one of them during the incident. However, police have not produced any recording of the threat or photographs of the alleged bite marks.
The incident led to a protest of around 50 demonstrators who rallied outside of the Detroit-area police department on Wednesday to speak out against this case of police brutality. The protest was led by the Rev. Charles Williams II, who called on officials to fire the officers involved.
"We will shut Inkster down until we get justice," Williams said, according to The Associated Press.
Inkster Police Chief Vicki Yost addressed the crowd Wednesday and said the Michigan State Police Department is conducting an investigation into the case.
"I understand your concern," Yost told Williams, according to the AP. "Again, we're going to let the investigation play out ... We're going to act accordingly. We're not hiding from this."
Correction: A previous version of this article reported that Michigan State Police officers pulled over the motorist. It was in fact officers from the Inkster Police Department who conducted the stop.