After body camera video captured officers pulling a Black paraplegic from Ohio out of his car with his hair and arms, officers filed a complaint to the NAACP.
Officers pulled Owensby over after he was seen leaving the suspected drug house that police were watching. Dayton Unit NAACP President Derrick Foward stated that Owensby had accused the Dayton Police Department of profiling, illegal arrest, illegal search, seizure, and failing to read him his rights prior to being taken to prison.
Clifford Owensby (39), said that he was dragged to his vehicle “like a dog, or trash” at a Sunday news conference. According to court records, Owensby was issued a citation for failing to restrain a minor and having tinted his eyes as a result. Owensby was driving with a child in his car at the time of the incident. It is not clear if the child is Owensby’s child. According to James Willis, Owensby pleaded guilty to not guilty Friday. Willis stated that he intends to file a civil suit.
Willis stated Monday that while it will take some time to investigate, we should be able to file something in the next month. Foward said Monday to CNN’s Erin Burnett that they don’t consider the incident to be a case of racial discrimination because the officer who pulled Owensby from the car was Black. CNN reached out to the District attorney’s office to inquire if Owensby would be charged. Cara Zinski, spokesperson for DPD, stated that the officers involved are still on duty during an investigation.
Owensby instructs officers to contact a superior during a traffic stop on video
DPD released Friday’s 12 minute video from the body camera footage of the September 30th incident. Major Brian Johns, Dayton Police Major, stated that Owensby left a suspected drug house near the area they were monitoring and they called for a Narcotics Detection K-9 team. Owensby said that he was misled into believing that he was being pulled over for tinting. He was referring to tint in Owensby’s windows. Johns stated that based on Johns’ past convictions for drug and weapon offenses, as well as their observation that he left the house in question, officers requested a Narcotics Detection K-9 to perform a ” free air sniff”, which is when a dog sniffs around the vehicle’s exterior. Johns stated that “Dayton Police Department policy requires that the occupants of a vehicle exit for their safety and the safety of the K-9 officer to perform the free-air sniff,” Johns added. The video shows that Owensby is asked to get out of his seat after the radio call. Owensby refused, and then told the officer that he couldn’t because of paralysis. Owensby replies, “I’m paraplegic.” “I got help getting in.” Clifford Owensby can be seen on Dayton police bodycam footage being dragged to the ground by offices on September 30, 2021.
Owensby asks Owensby to help him get out of the car. Owensby says no and tells him not to touch him. Owensby has to get out of his car first, so the officer replies that he will call his superior. “So, you can either cooperate and get out the car or I will drag it out. Can you see the two options? Owensby shouts at the officer, and Owensby repeats his request that the officers call a superior. Two officers grabbed Owensby seconds later and began a struggle. One officer grabs Owensby by the collar and arm, then grabs his hair and pulls him out of their vehicle. Owensby can be seen on video struggling to get help, as the officers subdue him. Owensby stated, “I was afraid for my life. All I could do was close my eyes and grab my steering wheel. I prayed to God in My Head.”
Johns stated that Owensby was taken by officers to a local hospital. He was then examined for injuries and released. According to the police major, officers also retrieved $22,450 worth of cash from Owensby’s vehicle.
Owensby stated that the money was his savings. No weapons or drugs were discovered in the search. He was not charged for any drug-related offenses. He said, “I cannot get over the fact that they’ve humiliated me like that” Video is deemed ’very concerning’ by Dayton mayor. Sunday’s statement by Nan Whaley, Dayton Mayor, acknowledged the need for “thorough investigations.” Whaley stated that the video of the police interaction was “very concerning” to CNN on Sunday. “This is why the city released the footage from the body camera immediately after the incident. All parties are owed an investigation. One is underway. “This incident highlights why community-led reform of the police force, which includes transparency, is so important.” Whaley stated that the goal is to make sure our police force is able to do its job while treating all citizens with dignity, respect, and financial resources.
Owensby’s lawyer, Willis Willis, stated that he believes that the police actions were illegal. The attorney stated that the lawyer believed the act was illegal and unnecessarily cruel, considering the fact that they knew full well that he couldn’t get out on his own. Foward, Dayton NAACP president said that the officer’s actions are egregious. Foward stated that a pretextual traffic stop over the tint on the window shouldn’t have resulted in a citizen of the United States of America being dragged from the car like an animal. Foward stated that the situation was unnecessary and that the officer should have been placed on… administrative leave immediately to allow for a thorough investigation.