DeKalb, IL – An accused drug dealer has demanded that the DeKalb police officer who arrested him in August be held accountable for allegedly choking him while he was brawling with police (videos below).
“This is what, you know, some police officers do, and we have to put a stand on it,” Elonte McDowell told WLS.
McDowell was tased by police during the brawl, and complained that he is still recovering from the injuries the probes caused.
“If your officer or fellow mate is doing something that is incorrect, you need to be like, ‘Hey! You guys just tased him’ or ‘You’re choking him – stop that!’” he told WLS.
According to court documents, McDowell posted a photo of the marijuana he was selling on Snapchat, which resulted in police receiving a tip that he was in possession of a felony amount of marijuana, the Daily Chronicle reported.
DeKalb police pulled him over near the intersection of Lincoln Highway and Annie Glidden Road on Aug. 24 in connection with the drug intel.
The suspect pulled into the Lincoln Towers parking lot – an area where officers later confirmed he had been banned from since 2018, the Daily Chronicle reported.
McDowell told the officer that he didn’t have his driver’s license, dashcam footage showed.
Several minutes later, the officers asked McDowell to get out of his vehicle.
He repeatedly argued that he didn’t have to comply unless he was being arrested, and one of the officers told him that he could be charged with refusing to abide by a lawful order if he didn’t get out of the car.
McDowell and his female passenger eventually stepped out of the vehicle, and one of the officers told him that he was not legally allowed to be on Lincoln Towers property.
“That was a long time ago,” he argued. “Why you guys trying to give me a hard time?”
After establishing that McDowell didn’t live on the property and that he had just pulled in there because of the traffic stop, a K9 officer began searching around the suspect vehicle.
The K9 “alerted to the…presence of narcotics inside the vehicle,” one officer explained in the video.
McDowell attempted to step away from police back towards his vehicle, at which point police pulled him back and began taking him into custody.
The suspect again pulled away, and began screaming about not knowing why he was being detained.
He and the officers tumbled to the ground during the ensuing scuffle.
“I can’t breathe!” McDowell screamed repeatedly.
One of the officers deployed a Taser in an attempt to subdue the combative suspect.
A second video, recorded by McDowell’s girlfriend, showed the officers fighting to put handcuffs on him.
The alleged drug dealer went limp as police rolled him onto his stomach.
“You’re okay, big boy,” one of the officers told him. “It’s a nice fake, but…”
“He has a pulse, right?” McDowell’s girlfriend asked police. “Like, you guys can make sure he has a pulse? ‘Cause look at his face.”
One of the officers later told a fellow officer that he never placed his arm across McDowell’s throat during the brawl, despite the suspect acting as if he had passed out, dashcam footage showed.
The suspect later refused medical treatment, the Daily Chronicle reported.
Investigators found a bag containing over 28 grams of marijuana.
McDowell later confessed that the drugs were his, according to the Daily Chronicle.
The package also matched those that the suspect had posted to Snapchat, police said.
He was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, unlawful possession of marijuana, resisting a police officer, and criminal trespass.
McDowell later admitted that he should be held accountable for possessing marijuana, but argued that the officers should be held accountable for allegedly choking him, WLS reported.
According to Illinois law, chokeholds are defined as “applying any direct pressure to the throat, windpipe, or airway of another with the intent to reduce air or prevent the intake of air,” the Daily Chronicle reported.
The definition does not pertain to instances where contact is made with a suspect’s neck that does not reduce the intake of air.
Officers are only allowed to use true chokeholds in deadly force situations, the Daily Chronicle reported.
McDowell claimed that the officers used excessive force during his arrest.
“It’s not okay,” he told WLS. “It needs to get out there. It happened one too many times. This happens every day.”
The Illinois State Police is handling the ongoing investigation into the incident.
The officer McDowell accused of choking him has been temporarily reassigned pending the outcome of the investigation, WLS reported.
McDowell’s attorney, Antonio Jeffrey, said he plans to file a civil rights lawsuit against the city of DeKalb once the investigation is finished, the Daily Chronicle reported.
“I think the videos accurately depict what my client has been saying all along which is that, no, he didn’t attempt to flee,” Jeffrey told the paper. “He was cooperating the entire time.”
Jeffrey said that McDowell believes the officers who arrested him need to be “punished in some type of way.”
You can watch dashcam and cell phone footage of the officers’ encounter with McDowell in the videos below: