The Dayton, Ohio chapter of the NAACP is pledging to get involved after police pulled a Black man with paraplegia out of his car, dragging him by his hair during a traffic stop last month.
In newly-released body camera footage, Clifford Owensby can be heard yelling for help as officers drag him across the pavement and repeatedly telling the officers he can’t use his legs.
The 39-year-old filed a complaint with the NAACP and is working with an investigator, President Derrick Forward confirmed to The Washington Post on Saturday (October 9). Forward said the civil rights organization will be working “hand-in-hand” with Owensby’s legal team.
“To pull this man out of the car –– a paraplegic –– is totally unacceptable, inhumane and sets a bad light on our great city of Dayton, Ohio,” Forward told The Post.
The Dayton Police Department’s Bureau of Professional Standards announced Friday (October 8) it would be investigating the incident, including the officers’ actions during the September 30 arrest.
The Department said Owensby was ultimately cited for the tints on his windows and for transporting a child without a car seat. A three-year-old was in the vehicle at the time officers dragged Owensby out. Though the incident started after officers who were reportedly monitoring a suspected drug house on the day of the incident and saw Owensby leave. The cops wanted to bring in a K-9 unit to search Owensby’s car, which would require him to exit.
“I don’t think that’s going to happen, sir,” Owensby told an officer in the body camera footage.
“You can cooperate and get out of the car, or I can drag you out of the car,” the officer said back.
Owensby had requested to speak to the officers’ supervisor when they reached in to drag him out.
In 2020, Jack Rusner, a man who is deaf and mute and has cerebral palsy, sued the Dayton Police Department accusing officers of injuring and mistreatment him during an arrest.
Multiple research studies have documented the substantially higher risk for fatal police encounters people with disabilities have. That risk goes up when race is factored in, advocates say.
Some estimate that between one-third and one-half of victims of police killings in the US are people with disabilities.
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