Police of the American city of Dayton, in the state of Ohio, opened an investigation after it became known a video in which you see two officers violently dragging a paraplegic man from a vehicle. The recording, released recently by the Dayton Police Department, shows how the African American Clifford Owensby, 39, explains repeatedly and screaming that he is prevented from getting out of his car because he cannot use his legs.
Police were searching for drugs inside the vehicle, but only found a bag of dollars and a three-year-old boy sitting in the back. James Willis, Owensby’s lawyer, informed that he will file a formal lawsuit against the agents since he considers what happened as “illegal and unnecessarily brutal”. To denounce a new case of police violence, family members and activists scheduled a demonstration this Wednesday morning during the meeting of the Dayton City Commission.
The violent sequence
“I can’t go out. I’m a paraplegic.”, Owensby is heard repeatedly saying in front of cops in the more than 10-minute long video. One of the agents replies that he is going to help him, but the young African American responds that he is afraid of being hurt.
Police body camera footage shows Owensby repeatedly telling officers that he couldn’t get out of the car, threatening to sue, asking if neighbors were filming, and asking them to call “the real police,” meaning someone of rank. highest.
During the tense conversation, one of the policemen becomes nervous at Owensby’s refusal to get out of the car and threatens to drag him out. “You can cooperate and get out of the car or I’m the one pulling you out. Do you see the two options you have?”, he is heard saying.
Finally, several agents grab Owensby by pulling his arms and hair while he continues to call for help. They handcuff him behind his back, take him away from the vehicle and leave him lying on the asphalt. The incident occurred on September 30 when the man was delayed by the police at a traffic control.
In the car there was a bag with $ 22,450 and a three-year-old in the back seat. Owensby He was fined for not wearing the minor with the regulatory seat belt and for wearing tinted windows. He was also cited for obstructing security agents and resisting arrest.
The police report states that the agents wanted to investigate the vehicle for possible drug possession. Police say they saw Owensby drive out of an address where drugs were allegedly being sold.
The start of the investigation
The Mayor of Dayton, Nan Whaley, called the incident “very disturbing” in statements to National Public Radio. “That is why the city immediately released the body camera footage. All those involved are being investigatedWhaley explained, saying, “No matter where you live or what you look like, everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect when it comes to the Dayton police.”
Civil rights groups are also investigating the incident. “Pull this man out of the car by the hair, a paraplegic, it is totally unacceptable, inhuman and sets a bad precedent in our great city of Dayton“, He told the Washington Post Derrick Fowardby the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
However, the President of the Order of the Dayton Police Fraternal Lodge, Jerome ten, defended the actions of the police. “They complied with the law, with their training and with the procedures and policies of the department. Sometimes arrests of uncooperative individuals are not pretty, but they are necessary to maintain public safety, “Dix told the newspaper. Dayton Daily News.
“They don’t even respect me as a citizen”
Speaking at a press conference, Owensby himself assured that the incident was “inhumane”. “They showed no respect for me, no respect for my well-being”said Owensby, who told the local Dayton newspaper that suffered scrapes when hitting the pavement and suffered from a back problem that dragged from the past.
“I feel like they don’t even respect me as a citizen,” Owensby said, warning that he expects “some kind of disciplinary action.”
His lawyer, James R. Willis, warned that the way officers treated their client is indefensible, despite the Dayton Police Union arguing that its officers followed the recommended procedure by force. However, Willis explained that he does not directly blame the officers involved in the incident.
“I blame the people who should have taught them, be it the state or the city, before certifying them and unleashing them in front of society.”Willis said, adding: “They should have been informed about the limits of their authority.”
The attorney also questioned the motive that gave Dayton police the right to seize the more than $ 20,000 found in the vehicle Owensby was driving. “Did they find drugs in the car? Is it illegal to carry money in the car? When did it become a crime to have money?”Willis questioned in that regard.