DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The Dayton NAACP held a press conference on Sunday concerning the incident between Clifford Owensby and a Dayton police officer.
On October 4, Owensby filed a complaint against the police department for profiling, unlawful arrest and illegal search and seizure.
Owensby is a father of seven and paraplegic and often needs help getting into and out of his car.
He says on the morning of September 30, he visited one of his properties with his three-year-old child to retrieve cable boxes that he intended to return.
He said the child’s car seat had been left at home because he could not put it in the car on his own, and his other children were at school and could not assist him.
Around 12:30 pm that day, Owensby was pulled over by Dayton police officers. He says the officers told him he was pulled over for his window tint, but then instructed him to get out of the car so that they could search it.
According to a Dayton Police report, the officers pulled over Owensby in his white Audi because they suspected he had left a home that was being surveilled by Narcotics detectives. They said they wanted a K-9 to sniff Owensby’s car for drugs or other contraband.
However, Owensby stated he could not get out of the car.
Owensby says he repeatedly asked to see the officer’s supervisor but was not answered. The police officer told Owensby if he didn’t step out of the car, he would be dragged out. Moments later, two officers are seen grabbing Owensby by the arm and attempting to drag him out of the car by his hair.
“They dragged me to their vehicle like a dog, like trash,” said Owensby. “It was total humiiliation, it was hatred at its purest fashion. I have never seen or witnessed anything like this in my life.”
The altercation was caught on camera by neighbors, passersby, and also DPD body cameras.
Owensby says after being dragged to the ground and kneeled on, he was taken to the hospital for treatment. He says officers then took him to the jail but he was not booked. There were no charges filed against Owensby in this case although he was cited for having his child unrestrained in the car and dark tint on his window.
Owensby said the officers found no weapons or drugs in his car, but there was about $23,000 worth of cash that was confiscated and not returned.
“This is a situation that started from tint being on the window that led to a situation where an African American man [was] pulled out of a vehicle, as a paraplegic, by his hair,” said Derrick Foward, President of the Dayton division of the NAACP.
Now the NAACP is stepping in to represent Owensby. They say they want their eight-step police reform plan considered, which includes better training for officers to respond in situations like this.
“If they had had the proper equipment to assist me with getting out of the car, I would have let them assist me out of the vehicle to conduct their search. I was at no point non-compliant with all of the demands they asked of me,” said Owensby.
Owensby says he’s been emotionally scarred by the incident and has recurring nightmares and an aversion to leaving his home.
“I’m getting whipped and whipped over and over, every time I hear about someone sharing that video…it is a constant reminder,” he said.
Owensby says he’s also pursuing a lawsuit against the police department.