DeKALB – Elonte McDowell, at the center of a months-long investigation into an August arrest by DeKalb police, testified in front of a DeKalb County grand jury in December before it declined to bring charges against the officer, McDowell’s lawyer said.
Antonio Jeffrey, McDowell’s Chicago-based lawyer, said in a call to the Daily Chronicle on Friday that McDowell did provide testimony during the grand jury proceedings, something which was unclear after the ruling in December.
“He testified before the grand jury, and provided his perspective of the incident,” Jeffrey said. “Specifically, the portion in question which is whether he was placed in a chokehold. It didn’t last any more than 10 minutes at most. He didn’t offer anything outside of what the video already showed, which is he was choked, he felt pressure on his esophagus, and he passed out.”
Jeffrey said, as is typical with grand jury proceedings which often are highly secretive, he was not allowed in the room during McDowell’s testimony, which he gave Dec. 6.
Jeffrey said an officer from the Illinois State Police who was involved in the investigation also testified before the grand jury Dec. 20, the same day the decision not to indict DeKalb Police Sgt. Jeffrey Weese was announced.
Multiple video angles of the Aug. 24 arrest of McDowell show Weese wrapping his arm around McDowell’s neck in what a forensic police doctor has called a chokehold.
A DeKalb County Sheriff’s deputy then fired a Taser at McDowell while he was on the ground, rendering him unconscious.
McDowell was charged with possession of marijuana with an intent to deliver and has since pleaded not guilty, DeKalb County court records show. He’s scheduled for a status hearing Jan. 13.
Weese was reassigned to desk duty after the arrest, where he remains pending a departmental investigation, which will be conducted by the department’s investigative team led by Cmdr. Bob Redel, DeKalb interim Police Chief John Petragallo said.
Jeffrey said he’s concerned the grand jury wasn’t given the full story, and he wants documentation of what was presented to the grand jury before its deliberation.
“I just want to make sure that this whole process was done the proper way,” Jeffrey said.
He said he is planning on filing a civil lawsuit against the city of DeKalb for violating McDowell’s civil rights.