An Illinois cop was recorded in a disturbing video choking a man who was arrested after they received a tip off that he had a ‘load of drugs’ in his vehicle over the weekend.
Elonte McDowell, 25, was yelling for his girlfriend, Alyssa Retuerto, to record the incident as the officer held him in a chokehold while two others attempted to handcuff him on the ground. A fourth officer fired a stun gun at McDowell by which point he appeared to be unconscious.
His distraught girlfriend is then heard trying to console him, saying: ‘I love you.’
Illinois prohibits officers from using chokeholds following a 2015 law. The move is illegal ‘unless deadly force is justified’.
The ordeal occurred nearly a week after NYPD police officer Daniel Pantaleo was fired from his department for the 2014 chokehold death of Eric Garner.
Pantaleo had been on desk duty ever since he placed Garner, a 43-year-old black father-of-six, who was stopped for allegedly selling loose cigarettes, in a fatal chokehold five years ago.
Later that year, a jury failed to indict him and in July 2019, the Department of Justice announced it would not pursue civil rights charges.
But on August 19, Pantaleo was let go from the force by Police Commissioner James O’Neill.
The NYPD banned chokeholds in 1993 after a spike in deaths of people being apprehended or in police custody
In the most recent incident, on Saturday, police stopped McDowell near the campus of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, claiming they had a tip off that he had drugs in his vehicle.
‘The information received advised that McDowell would be driving a tan Chevy Malibu and accompanied by a white female with long brown hair,’ the statement reads.
Officers later stopped McDowell and ‘performed an investigative stop based on the intelligence received’.
According the release, investigators asked McDowell to exit the vehicle, which he did.
While speaking to the man, an ‘open-air sniff of the vehicle McDowell was driving was conducted by a Police K-9’.
‘The K-9 alerted to the presence of narcotics within the vehicle. A search of the vehicle ensued, and a felony amount of cannabis was located,’ the department said.
Officers then told McDowell he was under arrest and he attempted to flee, the statement says.
According to the release, McDowell resisted arrest and ‘a Taser was deployed to gain McDowell’s compliance’. The statement did mention the encounter, but it did not mention the chokehold.
In the statement, the department said an ambulance was called to check on McDowell, who refused medical treatment.
An officer is heard telling the woman to get back just moments before another officer pats McDowell on the face and shoulder and says: ‘You’re OK big boy. It’s a nice fake.’
That same officer then tells Retuerto: ‘Back up and don’t impede in my investigation.’
Another cop tells her to get back and asked: ‘Do you not understand that I have a dog in my hand and he will bite you?’
A short time later, Retuerto is heard crying as she asks the officers: ‘He has a pulse right? Because look at his face.’
Two officers, who are seen holding McDowell down, don’t check to see if the man is still breathing.
Retuerto shared video of the incident on Monday night. On Tuesday, authorities released a statement about how the encounter unfolded.
According to the press release, the DeKalb Police Department received information that McDowell, of Aurora, was driving to DeKalb with a ‘load of drugs’.
McDowell was then transported to the DeKalb County Jail to await a bond hearing.
He has been charged with unlawful possession of cannabis with the intent to deliver, unlawful possession of cannabis, criminal trespass to property, and resisting a peace officer.
McDowell was released on bond the following day. McDowell told NBC News that officers did not say why they needed him to step out of the vehicle and when he questioned them, they attempted to put him in handcuffs and he somehow fell to the ground where the officers began to choke him.
‘The DeKalb Police Department is reviewing all available video footage and statements regarding the use of force in this incident,’ the statement reads, adding that the department has ‘contacted the Illinois State Police requesting they conduct an independent review of this incident’.
The officer involved in this incident has been temporarily reassigned to administrative duties.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Valerie Edwards