Investigation launched after video shows Ohio police drag Black man with paraplegia from car

The Dayton Police Department's Professional Standards Bureau is investigating the arrest of a Black man with paraplegia after he was allegedly dragged from his car during a traffic stop in the Ohio city last month.

Why it matters: Newly released bodycam footage shows Clifford Owensby having his hair pulled as he's pulled from his car during his Sept. 30 arrest. He can be heard moments earlier telling a police officer, "I can't step outside the car, sir. I'm a paraplegic," adding that he'd received help getting into the vehicle.


  • The 39-year-old declines an officer's offer to help him get out of the vehicle but asks for the attendance of a supervisor.
  • An officer tells him he "can cooperate and get out of this car" or the police will "drag" him out. Owensby screams for help as he's pulled from the car, "I'm a paraplegic, bro, you can hurt me!" before he's handcuffed.

Of note: "Dayton police were already under scrutiny after Jack Runser, a man who is deaf and mute, and has cerebral palsy, sued the department, saying he was injured and mistreated by police during a 2020 arrest," the Washington Post notes.

Driving the news: Police said at a briefing Friday that they stopped Owensby after seeing his car leaving a suspected drug house and wanted to conduct an "open-air sniff" test.

  • They allege a bag containing $22,450 in cash was found on the front floorboard.
  • Police said Owensby had an unrestrained 3-year-old in the back seat, so officers cited him for transporting a child without a car seat and for tinted glass.

What to watch: The Dayton Unit NAACP president Derrick Foward confirmed to WashPost on Saturday night that Owensby had filed a complaint with the civil rights group, which was working "hand-in-hand" with his legal counsel.

  • "To pull this man out of the car, by his hair — a paraplegic — is totally unacceptable, inhumane and sets a bad light on our great city of Dayton, Ohio," Foward told WashPost.

What they're saying: Dayton police interim chief Matt Carper said in a statement that "upcoming training for all Dayton Police Officers and Supervisors will include diversity, equity, and inclusion, de-escalation, bias-free policing, and procedural justice."

  • "We need to do better," Carper adds. "And this can be done by further developing the mutual respect and accountability necessary to make our City safer."
  • Jerome Dix, president of Dayton Fraternal Order of Police Lodge, told the Dayton Daily News the officers involved had followed the law, adding: "Sometimes the arrest of noncompliant individuals is not pretty, but is a necessary part of law enforcement to maintain public safety."

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