Paraplegic man pulled from car, thrown to ground by police in Ohio
Police in Ohio forcibly pulled a paraplegic man out of his vehicle and threw him to the ground, despite his repeated appeals and him saying that he has no use of his legs, according to body-camera video released Friday.
The Dayton Police Department shared the video with NBC News that shows two officers commanding motorist Clifford Owensby to step out of the Audi he was driving during a traffic stop last week.
The video was edited, and it’s not clear what happened before or after the video.
Owensby can be heard telling the officers he’s paraplegic. One of the officers said he’d help him out of the car, but the motorist declined and asked why he was pulled over.
“I can’t get out of the vehicle sir,” Owensby said.
The officer told Owensby he needed to be out of the vehicle so a dog could smell for drugs, but the motorist objected, the video shows.
“No you’re not, no you’re not, you’re not going to touch me. You are definitely not going to touch me,” he can be heard saying in the video. “There will be a lawsuit if you put your hands on me for no reason, bro.”
Owensby then appears to make a phone call and ask someone to come to him and film his interactions with officers.
Owensby asks officers to call their supervisor before they unbuckle him and appear to drag him out by his shoulders and dreadlocks.
He screams and repeatedly shouts, “Somebody help, somebody help!”
As officers pressed him to the pavement, one put his knee into his back as Owensby kept pleading for help.
At one point he screamed, “Can y’all call the real police please?” as one officer threatened to Tase him.
The officers involved have not been identified.
Dayton Fraternal Order of Police President Jerome A. Dix said in a statement Friday night that the officers asked for compliance and said offered to “assist” Owensby when they were told he is paraplegic. He said the motorist “continued to be verbally noncompliant,” thus escalating the officers’ response.
“The officers followed the law, their training, and department policies and procedures,” he said. “Sometimes the arrest of noncompliant individuals is not pretty, but is a necessary part of law enforcement to maintain public safety, which is one of the fundamental ideologies of our society.”
Owensby did not respond to NBC News’s attempts for comment Friday, but he told the Dayton Daily News in a story published Monday, “I feel like they don’t even respect me as a citizen.”
He said he suffered scrapes from being pulled from the vehicle. He told the publication a previous back injury was reinjured.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said in a statement Friday, “The video of this police interaction is very concerning to me. No matter where you live or what you look like, everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect when dealing with Dayton Police.”
She said the incident was under investigation.
“Dayton remains committed to our ongoing community-led police reform process and providing transparency in situations like this,” Whaley said.