Body camera footage shows police officers dragging paralyzed man from a car by his hair

Written by on October 11, 2021

(NEW YORK) — Police in Dayton, Ohio, have released body camera footage that appears to show police officers dragging a partially paralyzed man out of his car by his hair.

When officers repeatedly ask Owensby to exit the vehicle during a Sept. 30 traffic stop, Clifford Owensby, 39, can be heard telling them that he is paraplegic and could not do so.

He says he does not want to be touched and calls someone to come to the scene and witness what is going on.

Owensby is then dragged out of the car by the officers, who appeared to use his hair to pull him out, the video shows. He’s handcuffed on the ground and continuously held by his hair as he yells for help, according to the video. Police are seen hauling him into a police cruiser.

“They dragged me to their vehicle like a dog, like trash,” Owensby told reporters at a news conference on Sunday. “It was totally humiliation.”

Owensby accused the Dayton Police Department of unlawful arrest, illegal search and seizure, profiling and failure to read his rights before being taken into custody. He has since filed a complaint with the Dayton NAACP chapter on the incident.

“We’re not talking about his past. We’re not talking about the activity by which the officer was conducting the search or drug activity. We’re talking about this incident and how the incident was handled,” said Derrick Foward, president of the Dayton unit of the NAACP.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley called the video “concerning.”

“That is why, immediately following this incident, the city released the body camera footage,” Whaley said in a statement to ABC News. “Everyone involved is owed a thorough investigation, and one is already underway. This incident shows why our community-led police reform process, which includes providing transparency, is more important than ever. The goal is always to ensure our police force has the resources to do its job, while treating all of our citizens with dignity and respect.”

According to the police department, officers were patrolling the area and had been sent to a suspected drug house. They initiated a traffic stop on a white Audi that was seen leaving the residence.

According to a police briefing on the incident, Owensby provided his identification when officers approached. Based on Owensby’s felony drug and weapon history, officers say they requested a Narcotics Detection K-9 at the scene for a free-air sniff on the vehicle.

Dayton police policy requires the occupants of the vehicle to exit for their own safety and the safety of the K-9 officer to perform the free-air sniff.

Police reported that a large bag of cash containing $22,450 was found on the floor of Owensby’s car and based on the K-9’s response the bag may have been in close proximity to illegal drugs.

Owensby denies any wrongdoing and says the cash that was found was his savings.

Owensby was charged with obstructing official business and resisting arrest. The case will be referred to the City Prosecutor’s Office, where it will be decided if the city will pursue the charges against Owensby, police said.

The Dayton Fraternal Order of Police told ABC News that officers “followed the law” and defended the use of force.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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