In 2014, the world watched in horror as 43-year-old Eric Garner lost his life to an illegal chokehold used by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo, and five years later, 25-year-old Elonte McDowell came dangerously close to experiencing a similar fate.
ABC News reports that the DeKalb Police Department in Illinois has opened an investigation to determine if excessive force was used by police officers during their attempt to arrest McDowell for marijuana possession on Aug. 24.
On Monday, McDowell’s girlfriend, Alyssa Retuerto, posted a video of the encounter on Facebook, in which McDowell is aggressively placed in a chokehold and tased by police officers as he pleads for Retuerto to record what’s transpiring.
“For you guys to decide,” Retuerto captioned the video. “Right or wrong?”
According to a statement released by the police department, officers recovered a “felony amount of cannabis” from the couple after receiving a tip and pulling them over. They also assert that McDowell attempted to flee after being apprehended.
“Officers informed McDowell that he was under arrest and approached McDowell to place him into handcuffs. Upon doing so, McDowell attempted to flee,” the statement said. “Officers attempted to restrain McDowell, who continued to resist their efforts to place him into handcuffs. During this encounter, a Taser was deployed to gain McDowell’s compliance.”
In an interview with Chicago 5, McDowell admitted to possessing marijuana but insisted that police used excessive force in apprehending him. He was charged with trespassing, resisting arrest and unlawful possession of cannabis with the intent to distribute.
“It was police brutality,” he told Chicago 5. “You break the law, justice is served, right? You have to go do your time. I need them to do their time too for what they did.”
While the incident continues to be investigated, one of the officers involved has been reassigned to administrative duties. He has yet to be publicly identified.