Police officers in Ohio yanked a Black paraplegic man out of his vehicle during a traffic stop and dragged him by his hair to a patrol car after he informed them he was unable to physically step out of the car.
The released bodycam footage showing the driver, Clifford Owensby, repeatedly crying out for help ignited a fury on social media.
"I'm a paraplegic! Somebody help!" he yelled as he was forcibly removed from the vehicle by two officers.
Police can be heard telling him to "stop," and "you're making things difficult" as Owensby was immobile and held to the ground.
You can watch the confrontation start at the 11:09 mark in the bodycam footage below.
Warning: police misconduct.
Community Incident Briefing October 8, 2021youtu.be
Owensby was pulled over on September 30 because his window was tinted darker than the legal limit. He had been out running errands without a wheelchair at the time.
He later told News Center 7:
"I usually get assistance with getting in and out of the vehicle."
According to the Huffington Post, the police said he was seen leaving a suspected illegal drug house.
The officers and a drug K-9 inspected his vehicle after his identification revealed he had a "history" of drug and weapons convictions.
Owensby was asked multiple times to step out of the car to allow for the vehicle inspection, but they ignored his reason for not being able to physically comply.
An irritated officer was heard giving Owensby the following ultimatum.
"You're getting out of the car. That's not an option. So you can cooperate and get out of the car or I can drag you out of the car. Do you see your two options here?"
Owensby asked for the officers' supervisor and also instructed someone on the phone to come down and "bring some people and bring some cameras. Bring someone so they can witness what's going on."
Losing patience, the officer grabbed Owensby—first by the arms and then by his dreadlock— and extracted him from the vehicle with assistance from another officer.
"I'm a paraplegic, you could f'kn hurt me," cried out a helpless Owensby.
He was held face-down as an officer handcuffed him. Two officers then dragged Owensby off to a nearby patrol car, leaving behind the shoes that had fallen off his feet during the struggle.
A three-year-old who was sitting in the backseat without a proper restraint was also removed.
The vehicle search resulted in the discovery of a bag of cash inside the floorboard, totaling $22,450, and a narcotics K-9 indicated the money had been in close proximity to illegal drugs.
He was arrested for obstructing official business and resisting arrest and was ultimately cited for municipal court for traffic citations, failure to restrain a child in the backseat, and for tinted glass.
The manner in which the officers handled the situation was met with much scrutiny on Twitter.
Owensby filed a complaint with Dayton's NAACP against the police, citing racial profiling, unlawful arrest, illegal search and seizure of his vehicle, and for the officers' failure to read him his Miranda Rights before being taken into custody, according to a statement from the local chapter's president on Sunday.
Dayton NAACP President Dr. Derrick Foward told the Huffington Post he plans to meet with Owensby's attorney to discuss the next steps.
"He's having nightmares and not understanding what took place with him. He has some scrapes on his body."
After watching the bodycam footage, Forward described what he saw as Owensboy being "dragged like he's going to a slaughterhouse, by his hair."
Forward, whose father had also been on the force in Dayton, added:
"I'll never say that law enforcement officers don't have tough jobs."
"But they have to remain calm ... you've got to remain professional as a law enforcement officer."
Owensby told WHIO:
"I feel like they need to be training the officers to deal with disabled people in a more efficient manner. Treat them with respect."
At a press conference on Sunday, Owensby said:
"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."
You can watch a news clip of his first media appearance, here.
'They dragged me to their vehicle like a dog;' Clifford Owensby shares account of Dayton Police alteyoutu.be
"If they would've had the proper equipment out there to assist me with getting out of the car, I would've let them assist me getting out of the vehicle to conduct their search," he said at the press conference.