Elonte McDowell took to Snapchat to sell his “goods,” but when one viewer took a look at the felony amount of marijuana on the post, they called police. Officers from the DeKalb Police Department caught up with McDowell later on, and pulled him over.
McDowell refused to comply with the officers’ directive when he was asked to step out of his vehicle. He maintained that he did not have to comply if he was not being placed under arrest. One officer informed him that he could be charged with failing to comply with a lawful order, but McDowell wouldn’t budge. The officers then brought out the K9 unit.
The dog alerted officers to the “presence of narcotics” in the car, and McDowell became overly aggressive. He began pulling away from officers, screaming that he had no idea why they were arresting him. The situation quickly escalated into a full-blown fight.
McDowell and the officer fell to the ground, and McDowell quickly found himself on the losing end. He repeatedly shouted at the top of his lungs, “I can’t breathe!” A second officer then deployed a Taser, and McDowell became completely incapacitated. His girlfriend began filming the incident on her phone.
The video shows a limp McDowell being rolled onto his stomach by officers, and one even suggested that he was faking it. He states, “You’re okay, big boy. It’s a nice fake, but…”
However, McDowell’s girlfriend wasn’t so convinced. “He has a pulse, right?” she asked, “Like, you guys can make sure he has a pulse? ‘Cause look at his face.”
McDowell later confessed to owning the marijuana, and he was charged with unlawful possession with intent to distribute, resisting a police officer, and criminal trespass. McDowell wasn’t about to let the officers go unpunished for how they handled him during the arrest.
With his lawyer, Antonio Jeffrey, McDowell is suing the city of DeKalb, claiming that the officers used excessive force. He claims that the arresting officer placed him in an illegal chokehold which prevented his breathing, and led to him passing out.
“This is what some police officers do and you have to put a stand on it. It’s not OK. It needs to get out there. It happened one too many times. This happens every day,” Jeffery stated.
He continued, “I think the videos accurately depict what my client has been saying all along which is that, no, he didn’t attempt to flee. He was cooperating the entire time.”
The officer implicated by the accusation maintains that he used a legal hold, and that he did not constrict McDowell’s airway. He has since been reassigned, and the department is reviewing the videos taken during the arrest.
McDowell insists that the department has to be “punished in some type of way” for the officer’s use of unnecessary force.