Worthy fights to keep Melendez in prison
Inkster officer William Melendez faces possible December release
DETROIT – The Local 4 Defenders have obtained a letter Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy sent to the parole board ahead of Inkster officer William Melendez's possible release.
The four-page letter lists countless reasons why Melendez should stay behind bars.
Melendez has been granted conditional parole, which means if all goes well the next few weeks, he could be home by Christmas. But Worthy's letter could change the plans.
Worthy signed the letter herself, and it's straight to the point. She used capital letters for emphasis, saying "The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office OPPOSES this parole and would ask the board to reconsider its decision."
"I'm sorry that you believe my actions were unjust," Melendez said in February 2015. "Please have faith in your law enforcement officers, for many of them would risk their lives for you."
At sentencing, Melendez stood by his story that his actions were justified. In Worthy's letter, she points to Melendez's brutality toward motorist Floyd Dent as a reason he should stay behind bars.
"The victim in this case was treated with excessive brutality," Worthy wrote. "The video admitted at trial shows the Defendant using excessive force to brutalize Mr. Dent. Mr. Dent was unarmed, never fought back, never struck the Defendant and was unsuccessful in attempting to protect himself from the Defendant's unrelenting attack. Furthermore, the Defendant interfered with the administration of justice. In this case, the Defendant purposefully lied in a police report, committed perjury in a search warrant."
"If it was left up to me, I'd give him 15 years," Dent said in February 2016. "All the lying and humiliation -- he's supposed to be an officer of the law. Come on."
On the eve of sentencing, Dent hoped the judge would send a strong message, but she went below guidelines and sentenced him to 13 months to 10 years. Now the parole board said Melendez could be paroled as early as Dec. 15. The prosecutor said that would send the wrong message.
"The Defendant's incarceration was due to his absolute betrayal of the trust and authority placed in him to protect the community and uphold the laws of this state," Worthy wrote. "His actions have had a severe detrimental impact on both the police community and the community at large."
The letter also said Dent didn't register with the victims unit and therefore did not have a chance to weigh in. Dent is registering now and hopes to be heard before the release date.
If the parole board is persuaded by the letter, the maximum sentence would be 10 years, but it also could ignore the letter completely. One parole board member thought another 18 months sounded appropriate. The decision should be made in a few weeks.
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