Police beating caught on video prompts Michigan protests

Floyd Dent, 57, was arrested during a traffic stop in Inkster in January.

The video shows an officer punching Mr Dent many times in the head as he is held to the ground.

Recent high-profile cases in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City have made police treatment of black men a major issue in the US.

“I’m lucky to be living. I think they was trying to kill me, especially when they had choked me,” Mr Dent told WDIV, the TV station that first aired the video on Tuesday.

“I mean, I was on my last breath. I kept telling the officer, ‘Please, I can’t breathe,” Mr Dent said.

A long time employee of the Ford Motor Company, Mr Dent said he spent two days in hospital for injuries to his face and head.

Police initially charged him with assault, resisting arrest, and possession of cocaine, insisting they found cocaine beneath the passenger seat of his Cadillac. Dent says police planted the drugs at the time of his arrest.

The assault and resisting arrest charges were later dropped. Mr Dent has no prior criminal history.

The Detroit Free Press newspaper reported that Inkster police pulled Mr Dent over after he ran a stop sign.

In their initial report the officers wrote that Mr Dent struggled and bit them when he left his vehicle, but the video appears to refute that account.

Inkster Police Chief Vicki Yost said Michigan State Police were investigating and that the officers had been sent on leave.

“Again, we’re going to let the investigation play out,” Ms Yost said. “We’re going to act accordingly. We’re not hiding from this.”

Inkster, a Detroit suburb of about 25,000 people, is 73% black.


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