Illinois police used chokehold and tased a black man — while he was on the ground

Elonte McDowell being held down by cops. Screenshot courtesy of Alyssa Retuerto/Facebook

A shocking video has emerged that shows police in DeKalb, Illinois, using a chokehold and taser on a man whom they believed was carrying “loads of drugs” which turned out to be one ounce of marijuana.

It’s an incident that recalls the tragic death of Eric Garner in 2014 when an officer detained him by using an illegal chokehold, The Root reports.

The DeKalb, Illinois Police Department has now opened an investigation to see if police used excessive force during their August 24 attempt to arrest 25-year-old Elonte McDowell for possession of marijuana.

McDowell’s girlfriend Alyssa Retuerto posted a video of the encounter on Facebook, and it shows police handling McDowell roughly, placing him in a chokehold while he’s on the ground. The young man can be heard asking Retuerto to record the situation, Heavy. reports.

“I can’t breathe … record this babe. Record this,” he says.

“I got it on camera but just be cool babe,” Retuerto replies.

Within seconds McDowell, already on the ground and being held in a chokehold is tased by sheriff’s deputy using a stun gun.

“Oh my God, what the f**k are you doing that for?” Retuerto cries out. “He’s in a f**king chokehold and you just tased him? For what? For what?”

The officer can be seen rolling McDowell over and placing an arm on his head while telling him to put his hands behind his back. But McDowell seems to lose consciousness at this point. At this point, Retuerto walks over to her boyfriend and caresses his face.

“Baby, baby, I love you so much,” she says.

The officer who used the chokehold lightly smacks McDowell’s face.

“You’re okay,” he says. “It’s a nice fake.”

At this point, the officer tells Retuerto to “back up, don’t impede my investigation.” An off-camera officer can be heard telling her “Do you not understand that I have a dog in my hand and he will bite you?” Then an officer says “get ahold of her,” and tells her “you’re not free to leave right now. Do you understand?” Retuerto complies with the officer.

But McDowell doesn’t appear to be moving and a worried Retuerto cries “He has a pulse right?”

“Like, you guys can make sure he has a pulse right? Cause look at his face.”

Fortunately, McDowell was not seriously injured and cops say he refused medical treatment after his arrest, but the young couple has hired an attorney. The officer who can be seen with his arm around McDowell’s neck has been placed on desk duty while the incident is being investigated.

McDowell was charged with Unlawful Possession of Cannabis with the Intent to Deliver, Unlawful Possession of Cannabis, Criminal Trespass to Property, and Resisting a Peace Officer. It’s not clear at this point whether McDowell was trespassing but a property manager for Lincoln Towers housing project (where the incident occurred) told a reporter that there’s no record of McDowell being banned although it’s also been reported he was banned there in November 2018, Heavy reports.

During an interview with Chicago5, McDowell said he would like to see disciplinary action:

“It was police brutality. You break the law, justice is served, right? You have to go do your time,” he says. “I need them to go do their time too for what they did.”

Antonio Jeffrey, McDowell’s lawyer says his office also intends to investigate what happened:

“What happened to our client, Elonte McDaniel was completely unlawful, unjustified, and we believe racially motivated,” he told Heavy. “As a result, and in addition to the physical trauma, he has experienced flashbacks and nightmares on a frequent basis and has heightened anxiety in the presence of law officials. “Please know that at the proper time we will seek any and all remedies available to Mr. McDowell under the law against the individuals and entities involved.”

It’s a tragedy that Eric Garner is no longer with us thanks to police brutality, but let’s hope McDowell and Retuerto will have some closure in the wake of this. McDowell was fortunate because he survived. While police didn’t shoot him, a report by the Los Angeles Times shows that one in 1000 Black males die at the hands of law enforcement. That same report shows they are 2.5 times more likely than white men to die during an encounter with law enforcement.

Quite obviously this needs to change. There must not be another Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice or Michael Brown.

Here’s the video Retuerto recorded — But be forewarned that it is disturbing.

For you guys to decide. Right or wrong? #DKPD

Posted by Alyssa Retuerto on Monday, August 26, 2019

Featured image by Alyssa Retuerto/Facebook