Ex-MSU star Malik McDowell charged in scuffle with cops, truck theft

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News
Malik McDowell

Pontiac — Legal problems are mounting for former Spartan football standout and NFL washout Malik McDowell.

The troubled defensive lineman was stopped for suspicion of drunken driving in February and allegedly fought with two Lathrup Village police officers who tried to arrest him, according to a police report obtained by The Detroit News.

Then, two months later, he was charged with receiving and concealing stolen property: a $74,000 Ford F-150 Raptor pickup he claimed to have bought off the street, according to police.

McDowell, who turned 23 this month, is to appear Thursday in Oakland County Circuit Court, where he has been ordered to stand trial on charges in both cases.

During the February incident, according to the police report, McDowell confronted one of the arresting officers inside a gas station, refused to hand over his license and grabbed his wrists and put his hand on the officer’s gun.

“During the exchange, there was heavy extensive damage to the inside of the store,” according to the report.

The Seattle Seahawks sued McDowell last month in federal court, claiming he failed to pay back $799,238 as ordered by an arbitrator after McDowell suffered a head injury in an ATV accident in July 2017. The injury kept him from playing a single snap in the NFL after being drafted in the second round in 2017.

“My client has had some troubles this year,” said McDowell's attorney, Mitchell Ribitwer. “We hope to resolve these matters but first will seek an adjournment in court Thursday."

McDowell’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, did not return telephone calls or texts Wednesday to speak on his client’s behalf.

As Ribitwer referenced, 2019 has been especially rough for McDowell.

On Feb. 18, a Lathrup Village police officer spotted McDowell spinning out in a Jeep Grand Cherokee and attempted to question him. According to Ribitwer, McDowell demanded that a supervisor be called to the scene and when the officer said none was available, McDowell exited the car and walked to a nearby gas station, where he and the officer got into a confrontation.

According to the police report, the pair wrestled inside the station, with McDowell — who's listed at 6-foot-6 and 300 pounds in the report — getting the better of the battle, despite being shocked with a Taser. Another Lathrup Village officer arrived to assist, and McDowell was handcuffed and taken into custody.

In that incident, McDowell is charged with assault/resisting arrest, a felony punishable by up to two years in prison and fines, and operating while intoxicated. The latter offense is a 93-day misdemeanor, but since McDowell has a February 2018 drunken driving conviction out of Royal Oak, he could receive an enhanced combined sentence of fine, jail time, and community service.

The other charge against McDowell, receiving and concealing stolen property, stems from an investigation of pickup thefts from a Ford Motor Co. overflow lot in Dearborn.

The trucks were equipped with GPS devices, one of which led officers with the Oakland County sheriff's auto theft unit to a closed garage at McDowell’s Southfield address.

McDowell told police he did not know the truck was stolen and had purchased it for $3,000 from a man on Linwood in Detroit. He didn’t know the man’s name, according to police.

If convicted of the truck offense, McDowell could receive a sentence of up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

McDowell came to Michigan State from Southfield High as a heralded five-star recruit who was ranked the No. 26 player in the nation by Rivals.com. The Detroit native was named first-team All-Big Ten by the Associated Press and earned second-team honors from the league’s coaches and media for this third and final season with the Spartans in 2016. 

Staff writer Kim Kozlowski contributed.