Dayton FOP critical of elected officials’ reaction to arrest of Clifford Owensby

The local Fraternal Order of Police released a new statement Wednesday morning saying that the officers involved in the arrest of a paraplegic Black man who was yanked from his vehicle and onto the road did everything by the books.

Dayton FOP Vice President Derric McDonald said in a video statement that the officers patiently and calmly offered to assist Clifford Owensby, who does not have use of his legs, out of his vehicle so a police K-9 could sniff the vehicle for drugs on Sept. 30.

ExploreTimeline: How the Clifford Owensby incident with Dayton police unfolded, became national news

“Instead of supporting these officers for doing their job, they are being vilified by elected officials trying to score political points and anti-police extremists,” McDonald said. “Any fair investigation into this arrest will conclude that these officers did everything by the book.”

The incident has sparked protests in downtown Dayton with protestors accusing the officers of using excessive force against a disabled man. Owensby told the Dayton Daily News that he felt that the officers didn’t respect him as a citizen and national and local civil rights organizations have called for the officers to be dismissed and prosecuted.

A police report says officers conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle due to an equipment violation at the intersection of West Grand Avenue and Ferguson Avenue. The department said Owensby was seen leaving a drug house before the traffic stop.

“This was not a chance encounter,” McDonald said in the new video statement.

An 11-minute body camera video shows officers interacting with Owensby and eventually asking him to exit the vehicle. Owensby tells officers that he is paraplegic and cannot exit the vehicle. The video shows the officers and Owensby arguing over him exiting the vehicle -- the officers say they will assist him out while Owensby asks the officers to call a supervisor to the scene.

The body camera footage shows officers yanking Owensby by the hair and arm out of the vehicle and onto the road. They eventually handcuff him and put him in the back of a police cruiser.

Police said that they recovered more than $22,000 from the vehicle. Owensby told the newspaper that the money was his savings.

Video filmed by a bystander in the area was uploaded onto social media the same day, and the footage received hundreds of shares and comments and the Dayton Police Department’s Professional Standard’s Bureau is investigating the incident.

ExploreDayton police investigate after video shows disabled man pulled from car by officers

“Police officers repeatedly offered to help Mr. Owensby after he shared that he is paralyzed,” McDonald said in the statement. “Five times they asked him to allow them to help him out of the vehicle before warning him that their only choice was to remove him by force.”

The video from the FOP contained body camera footage of officers assisting Owensby into a vehicle downtown. The Dayton Daily News has requested the additional body camera footage from Dayton Police but it has not been released.

Owensby told the newspaper that he asked the officers to call for their supervisor because he wanted to de-escalate the situation and he felt the officers were not listening to him. McDonald said that the officers tried to de-escalate the situation.

“Police officers have the toughest job in the country and sometimes they must use force ... to protect and serve the community,” McDonald said.

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