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Disabled Black man pulled from car by police

Clifford owensby (309191)
Clifford owensby

Ohio police officers were filmed forcibly pulling a Black man with paraplegia out of his vehicle by his hair and then dragging him to a patrol car during a traffic stop after the man informed them of his inability to exit his vehicle at their command, reports the Huffington Post.

Officers stopped Clifford Owensby in a Dayton neighborhood on Sept. 30 after his vehicle was seen leaving a suspected illegal drug house, police said Friday while releasing body camera footage of the afternoon traffic stop.

The police took Owensby’s identification and a drug K-9 inspected his vehicle after officers determined that he had a felony drug and weapon history. This inspection required Owensby to exit his vehicle, police said.

“I cannot step out,” Owensby told the officers when instructed, as heard in the body camera footage. “I’m a paraplegic.”

Officers offered to help Owensby out of his vehicle, to which Owensby said, “I don’t think that’s going to happen, sir.”

“You’re getting out of the car. So you can cooperate and get out of the car or I can drag you out of the car,” an officer, with increasing agitation, is heard telling him.

Owensby asked for the officers’ supervisor and appeared to call someone on his phone to come assist him at the scene. When an officer reached in to remove him, Owensby repeatedly warned that because of his paralysis, the officers could physically hurt him.

Video shows at least two officers pulling Owensby out of the vehicle and to the ground shortly after, with one officer gripping him by his hair. They can be seen hauling Owensby off to a nearby patrol vehicle with his shoeless feet dragging along the pavement behind him.

A 3-year-old who was sitting unrestrained in the back seat of Owensby’s vehicle was also removed. In the course of the vehicle search, officers recovered a large bag of cash totaling $22,450 inside the floorboard. A narcotics K-9 indicated that the money had been in close proximity to illegal drugs, police said.

A police report from the incident obtained by the Dayton Daily News  accused Owensby of obstructing official business and resisting arrest, both of which are misdemeanors. He was ultimately cited in a municipal court for traffic citations, failure to restrain a child in the backseat, and for tinted glass.

Owensby has meanwhile filed a complaint against the police department with Dayton’s NAACP for profiling him, unlawful arrest, illegal search and seizure of his vehicle, and for officers’ failure to read him his Miranda Rights before he was taken into custody and transported to a jail, the local chapter’s president said Sunday.

“I don’t see where I did anything wrong with this matter and I am at a loss for words for what they did to me. It was total humiliation, it was hatred,” Owensby said at a press conference Sunday.