Video of Dent’s violent arrest by Inkster, Mich. police, released by his attorney and first aired by WDIV-TV this week, has drawn scrutiny on this small town of 24,000 at a time when video footage of police using force against unarmed civilians garner national attention. “I’m lucky to be living because I think they were trying to kill me,” Dent told the station. “I don’t even want to watch the tape of them beating me because I get upset.”
[This video contains footage that some may find disturbing]
Inkster Police Chief Vicki Yost said they launched an inquiry immediately after the January arrest and they had asked Michigan State Police to conduct an independent investigation. She told reporters that one officer has been pulled from patrol duty but she declined to discuss the other officers involved in the incident.
“It’s important that the investigation takes its course,” Yost said during a Thursday press conference. “We are not afraid of following the facts and we’ll take appropriate action but it needs to be independent, it needs to be thorough and it needs to be impartial. I don’t want to rush any conclusions.”
Results of the state police inquiry will be forwarded to the Wayne County prosecutor for review of any possible charges, Lt. Michael Shaw of the state police told the Detroit News.
Dent’s attorney Greg Rohl released the police report of the January incident, and said he believes race played a role, telling WDIV-TV that nine white officers responded in all. In the report, according to the Associated Press, police write that Dent pulled into a hotel parking lot, went inside for a few minutes, and eventually drove away in a neighborhood known for drug activity.
An officer turned on his lights and Dent failed to pull over and ran a stop sign, the report reads. Once Dent eventually pulled over, an officer writes that he approached the car with his gun raised when he thought Dent was reaching for a weapon.
The report said officers used a Taser three times on Dent, and that Dent bit an officer on the arm, AP reported.
Police also alleged that Dent threatened officers when he opened his car door, WDIV-TV reported, while audio of the incident wasn’t captured.
Dent denies biting the officer. The video shows an officer attempting to handcuff Dent’s hands behind his back, but one hand remained free.
“While he was beating me I was trying to protect my face with my right arm,” Dent said, the Detroit News reported. “I told them I can’t breathe. He just kept on choking me.”
Dent also claims that police planted crack-cocaine in his car. A judge dismissed all charges against Dent, including resisting arrest, but the drug charge still stands and he faces an April 1 court date, where he plans to plead not guilty, the Detroit News reported.
Small protests have cropped up in the Detroit-area suburb, where officials have urged calm. Inkster’s former police chief Hilton Napoleon attended a protest Wednesday and called for the department of 25 to disband.
“You do have good officers out here but you have enough bad apples to poison the system,” he told the Detroit News. “You have officers out here that need to go turn their badges in right now. I said that when I was chief.”
Inkster City Manager Richard Marsh Jr. said “action will be taken accordingly, depending on the results of the investigation.”