Who is Clifford Owensby? Cops slammed for dragging paraplegic man out of vehicle

Clifford Owensby was dragged out of his vehicle after a traffic stop on September 30 in the 1200 block of West Grand Avenue


                            Who is Clifford Owensby? Cops slammed for dragging paraplegic man out of vehicle
Clifford Owensby was dragged out of his vehicle during the September 30 stop in the 1200 block of West Grand Avenue. (WHIO)

 DAYTON, OHIO: A paraplegic man who couldn't exit his car at a traffic stop in Dayton, Ohio, was pulled out from his vehicle by police, bodycam footage has revealed.

Clifford Owensby was dragged out of his vehicle during the September 30 stop in the 1200 block of West Grand Avenue. While footage of the encounter initially recorded by a bystander made rounds on social media, WHIO-TV obtained police footage through a public records request. MEAWW previously reported how a Georgia trooper sparked outrage after he was filmed stomping on an armed suspect after a foot chase.

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Officers are seen in the footage questioning Owensby when he tells them he's paraplegic and that he "got help getting in." For the record, being paraplegic means being unable to walk due to the paralysis of one's legs and lower body. "Well, I'll help you get out," the officer responds.

"Well, I don't think that's going to happen, sir," Owensby maintains. "I'm [not] asking you but I'm telling you, so it's not an option," the officer insists. The authorities explain to Owensby that they are going to get a police dog to smell his vehicle owing to his history, which includes drug and weapons charges. In order to do so, Owensby is requested to exit the vehicle.

However, he resists the request and instead sends a message to someone on his phone before threatening to bring a lawsuit if the police touch him. "We going to get some people here who are about to witness what is going on," Owensby tells the officers and continues to resist, before calling someone to come down to the scene and record the incident. After several minutes of going back and forth, the police eventually drag him out of the car by his dreadlocks. Owensby is heard shouting "somebody help!" while the officers responds saying "stop" and "you're making it so much harder than it has to be."

"Dayton PD pulled over Clifford Owensby & violently PULLED him out of the vehicle after learning that he was a paraplegic who couldn't use his legs. Cops SHOULD treat citizens with respect. Instead, police had no regard for the wellbeing of this man. Unacceptable!" police brutality lawyer Ben Crump tweeted, sharing footage from the police stop.



 

Owensby later said he was injured and still in pain from the incident after having sustained bruises from being scraped on the sidewalk. Cops handcuffed the paraplegic and placed him into the back of their car. "I feel like they don't even respect me as a citizen," Owensby told Dayton Daily News following the ordeal.

Social media was inundated with outraged reactions to the controversial footage. "Last weekend Dayton police pulled this man over for a traffic stop and insisted on bringing in a dog to search his car. They ordered the man out of the car. The problem is this man is a paraplegic, doesn't bother cops though, they drag him out onto the ground and cuff him anyway," one Twitter user wrote.

"'We ask the public to please be patient…' Dayton Police said. PATIENCE. They want what they don’t give. How many times did Mr Owensby say he’s a paraplegic? They dragged him out by his hair. No respect. No compassion. Public service starts with respect for human dignity," a comment read.

"FYI: Clifford Ownsby, a Black man who is a paraplegic, was recently dragged from his car by police in Dayton. Black disabled people are more likely to be brutalized by police. We truly need to defund. #BlackLivesMatter," another added.



 



 



 

The interim chief of the Dayton Police Department and the Dayton city manager promised a thorough review of the incident on Monday. Two days later, Dayton City Commission candidate Shenise Turner-Sloss called for an external investigation into the incident. "What we're talking about is that an individual's civil rights were violated, again. My voice has been consistent," Turner-Sloss told WHIO. According to the Springfield News Sun, Owensby was summoned to court in 2015 on charges of drug abuse, hidden compartments/vehicle, weapons under disability, firearms in motor vehicle, and speeding.

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