CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Malik McDowell, who was given a second chance by the team after serving jail time, was arrested Monday in Florida on charges of beating a police officer and public exposure.
Police in Deerfield Beach, Florida, said they were responding to a “naked male walking near a school” when an officer approached McDowell, who was sitting on a curb, according to the arrest report. The officer said McDowell stood up, uttered an obscenity at him and “charged at me full speed with a closed fist.”
The officer said he was unable to avoid McDowell’s attack or use any “de-escalation tactics.” McDowell slammed into the officer and punched him in the right eye and on the top of the head, according to the report.
McDowell fled before he was stopped using a stun gun and handcuffed. The officer said his right eye was nearly closed because of swelling from the punches he absorbed in the attack and there is a “likelihood that I sustained permanent injury to my eye.”
McDowell was charged with aggravated battery on an officer, resisting an officer/obstructing with violence and exposure of sex organs in public. Bail was posted at $25,000. It was unclear if he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
The Browns released a statement on McDowell, who was under contract with the team for only one season, saying they were seeking more information.
“We are aware of the very concerning incident and arrest involving Malik McDowell and are in the process of gathering more information,” the team said. “We understand the severity of this matter and our thoughts are for the well-being of all involved. We will have no further comment at this time.”
McDowell came to the Browns with a troubled past.
A second-round pick by Seattle in 2017 out of Michigan State, the 6-foot-6, 290-pounder never played for the Seahawks after suffering a brain injury in an ATV accident that was followed by several arrests and an 11-month stay in a Michigan jail.
In 2019, McDowell was charged with assault, resisting arrest and operating a vehicle while intoxicated. In a video capturing the incident, McDowell fought two police officers even after they used a stun gun on him.
Browns general manager Andrew Berry took a chance on McDowell, who was a long shot to make the roster when training camp opened but impressed the team with his size, strength and potential after not playing for more than two years.
McDowell played well in stretches this season, finishing with three sacks in 14 starts. It was possible the Browns were going to re-sign him as an exclusive rights free agent.