DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — A Dayton man with a disability seen dragged from his car by police said he’s preparing to sue the department, and the local NAACP is backing him up.
“They dragged me to their vehicle like a dog, like trash,” said Clifford Owensby. “It was total humiliation, it was hatred at its purest fashion. I have never seen or witnessed anything like this in my life.”
On Sept. 30, Owensby, who is paraplegic, was driving himself and his young child to a property he owned. He was pulled over, and police told him the tint of his car windows was too dark, and asked him to get out of his car so they could search it.
According to a Dayton Police report, the officers also 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.
At a news conference Sunday, Owebsby said they did not have the right equipment to get him out of his car. The following altercation was caught on camera by neighbors, passersby, and also DPD body cameras.
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.
“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 noncompliant with all of the demands they asked of me,” said Owensby.
Owensby said after being dragged to the ground and kneeled on, he was taken to the hospital for treatment. He said 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.
On Oct. 4, Owensby filed a complaint against the police department for profiling, unlawful arrest and illegal search and seizure.
“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 unit 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.
Owensby says he’s been emotionally scarred by the incident, and has recurring nightmares and aversion to leaving his home.
“I’m getting whipped and whipped, over and over, every time I hear about someone sharing that video,” he said. “It is a constant reminder.”