Dayton, Ohio

Ohio Police Drag Black Paraplegic Man From His Car, Even After He Tells Them He Is Unable To Walk

A Black paraplegic man in Dayton, Ohio, was violently pulled from his car by police, even after he repeatedly told the officers who pulled him over that he could not walk. The entire incident was captured in incredibly graphic and hard-to-watch bodycam footage that has since been released to the public.

NPR’s Joe Hernandez reported that “the Dayton Police Department says it’s investigating an incident last month in which several officers pulled a paraplegic man from his car after he told officers he was unable to get out.”

According to Hernandez, “officers stopped Clifford Owensby on Sept. 30 as he was driving away from what police say was a suspected drug house. Because of Owensby’s past felony drug and weapons history, officers wanted a police K-9 to conduct a ‘free-air’ sniff of the vehicle to determine if there were illegal drugs inside.”

In order to conduct the test, officers told Owensby he would have to step out of his car.

In body camera footage from the arresting officers, Owensby could repeatedly be heard telling the police surrounding him, “I cannot step out. I’m a paraplegic.” Owensby then requests a police supervisor, also known as a “white shirt.”

However, the unidentified officer speaking to Owensby says he’ll only call one after the man gets out of the car. When Owensby repeats that he is paraplegic and cannot do so without the assistance of a machine, the officer says, “You can cooperate and get out of the car, or I’ll drag you out of the car. Do you see your two options here?”

“Several officers then grab Owensby and yank him out of the car, pulling on his arms and hair as he cries out for help,” Hernandez reported. “The officers cuff Owensby’s hands behind his back and pull him away from the vehicle, his legs dragging along the street.”

After news of the arrest was made public, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley issued a statement, saying, “the video of this police interaction is very concerning. That is why, immediately following this incident, the city released the body camera footage. Everyone involved is owed a thorough investigation, and one is already underway.”

In a statement, Derrick L. Foward, president of the NAACP’s Dayton chapter, said his group would also investigate Owensby’s arrest.

“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,” he said.

Following the violent assault he endured, Owensby was charged for failing to properly restrain the three-year-old in the seat behind him and for having tinted windows in his car. Authorities also planned to charge him with obstructing police business and resisting arrest initially, but those charges were never filed.

Dayton Police also reported that they had found a bag with a large amount of cash in the car. During the search, K-9 drug dogs were also ‘“alerted,” suggesting the vehicle may have previously been in the vicinity of illegal drugs. However, no charges involving the money were filed.

The Dayton Police Department’s Professional Standards Bureau is now conducting a complete investigation of the incident, and the group promises the results will be made public when it is complete.

Owensby was taken to the hospital after being dragged to the ground and kneeled on and still has pain a month later. In a press conference, Owensby said he felt humiliated and fearful following the altercation as if he had been “kidnapped” by the police.

“If they were caught doing this on camera, I can only imagine what would’ve happened if they weren’t,” Owensby said. “Everything they did to me reminds me of the movie Roots. I felt like they were trying to catch a slave, threatening to tase me because I was crying out for help.”



Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here.


Latest News

Validated Allies wallpaper

DiversityInc Announces 2022 Validated Allies

Allyship is a journey rather than a destination. The work of an ally never really ends and allies understand they are not necessarily always working toward a goal, but rather, serving a greater purpose. Each year, as part of our Women of Color and Their Allies event, DiversityInc recognizes a…

CDO Series: Sysco’s Adrienne Trimble

Following the murder of George Floyd, the role of Chief Diversity Officers has become more important as companies started to be more intentional with their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, which has made the last few years tumultuous for many CDOs. In the latest installment of a series of articles…

NOD Forum: Honoring the Disability Rights Movement

The road to disability rights has been a long one. One that started long before the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 was passed. In celebration of 40 years of the National Organization on Disability, disability leaders, supporters and activists gathered in Washington, D.C last week to discuss the…

5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: September 29

As the saying goes, the news never stops — but there’s a lot of it out there, and all of it doesn’t always pertain to our readers. In this weekly news roundup, we’ll cover the top news stories that matter most to our diversity focused audience. 1. Research Outlines Lack…

Marriott International building

Marriott International Receives 12 Platinum Honors at the MUSE Creative Awards

Originally published at Marriott International is a Hall of Fame company.   Marriott International’s unmatched portfolio of luxury brands earned 12 Platinum Awards representing 5 dynamic brands, across 10 categories in the 2022 MUSE Creative Awards — an international competition for creative professionals. The industry leader within the luxury…

Marriott International Debuts Its New Global Headquarters Focused on Wellbeing

Originally published at Marriott International is a Hall of Fame company.   After six years of planning, design and construction, Marriott International has opened its global headquarters in downtown Bethesda, Maryland. The 21-story, 785,000-square-foot, LEEDv4 Gold-certified building is the new workplace for corporate associates, supporting over 8,100 hotels in 139…