(Trends Wide) — A paraplegic black man from Ohio has filed a complaint with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) after a video showed police officers pulling him out of a car by the hair and arms during a traffic control late last month.
“They dragged me into their vehicle like a dog, like garbage,” recalled Clifford Owensby, 39, at a news conference on Sunday.
Owensby accused the Dayton Police Department (DPD) of unlawful characterization, unlawful arrest, search and seizure, and of failing to read him his rights before being taken to jail, said Dayton Unit NAACP President Derrick Forward, at the press conference.
On Friday, the Police Department released a nearly 12-minute long video of body camera footage taken in the September 30 incident.
Officers called the K-9 narcotics detection unit because they observed Owensby leaving a suspected drug house in the area they had been guarding, Dayton Police Commander Brian Johns said in a recorded briefing. He added that based on his history of drug and weapons crimes, along with the observation that he had left the residence in question, officers requested a narcotics detection K-9 to perform a sniff of the vehicle.
“Dayton Police Department policy requires vehicle occupants to exit for their own safety and for the safety of Officer K-9 to perform this open air sniff,” Johns said.
What the video shows
According to the video, shortly after the radio call, one of the officers turns to Owensby, who is in the driver’s seat, and asks him to get out.
Owensby refuses and then tells the agent that he can’t because he’s paralyzed. “I’m a paraplegic,” says Owensby. “I got help getting in.”
The agent tells Owensby that he will help him out of the vehicle, but Owensby tells the agent not to touch him and asks him to call a superior. The agent responds by saying that he will call his superior, but that Owensby must get out of the car first.
“So you can cooperate and get out of the car, or I’ll drag you out of the car. Do you see your two options here?” The agent yells at Owensby, who repeats his request that the agents call a superior.
Seconds later, two officers grab Owensby and a scuffle ensues. One of the officers grabs him by the arm and neck and then grabs him by the hair and drags him out of the vehicle. In the video, Owensby is seen struggling on the pavement, yelling for help as the two officers proceed to subdue him.
Johns said Owensby was taken to a local hospital where he was examined for possible injuries and released. The police commander also said officers recovered a bag of cash from Owensby’s vehicle that contained $ 22,450.
Owensby said Sunday that the money was his savings and that no weapons or drugs were found in the search. He was not charged with any drug-related crime.
Police accusations against Owensby
A DPD police incident report shows that Owensby was charged with obstructing official business and resisting arrest, both misdemeanors.
“I have nightmares,” Owensby said of the arrest. “I shouldn’t have to leave my house every day wondering if this is going to happen to me again.”
Trends Wide has reached out to James Willis, the attorney representing Owensby in this matter, for comment.
Trends Wide’s Amy Simonson contributed to this report.