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 who has 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, 39, having his hair pulled as he’s dragged from the car during his Sept. 30 arrest. Owensby can be heard 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.

He politely declines an officer’s offer to help him get out of the vehicle, asking 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. He screams for help as he’s pulled from the car: “I’m a paraplegic, bro, you can hurt me!”

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 said he 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 the Washington Post 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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