Dayton police council sees more video, details of Monday arrest caught on camera

Police chief’s statement says officers acted professionally and patiently.

Body camera and dash camera footage of an arrest made Monday at Westown Shopping Center show officers telling a man to get out of his vehicle before pulling him out, forcing him against the hood of a cruiser and the man then running from police.

The footage was shown to the Community Police Council on Tuesday night. The footage is taken just before a Facebook video begins that shows officers catching up to 26-year-old George Lail and pinning him to the ground. The video also shows an officer punching Lail three times and Tasing him before putting him in handcuffs.

The arrest and the Facebook video sparked some community reaction and prompted some community members to question Dayton police policies and the arresting officers' actions.

ExploreCity issues statement after video shows Dayton officer punch suspect during arrest

Lail and his family told the Dayton Daily News they feel the use of force was inappropriate. Lail said that his hands were trapped underneath him when officers were on top of him, so he couldn’t give them up. He said he wasn’t resisting arrest.

The Dayton New Black Panther Party protested Wednesday outside the Dayton Safety Building as a result of the Facebook video.

Dayton Police said the incident is being investigated by a sergeant now. In a release sent to the Dayton Daily News, police said their officers asked Lail to step out of the vehicle because of a prior criminal record and for their safety.

The information says just before 2 p.m., a Dayton police crew witnessed a white Dodge Durango fail to stop for a red light at Hoover and Gettysburg Avenues and they initiated a traffic stop. Once officers obtained Lail’s driver’s licenses, officers determined he was on parole for felonious assault.

“With this information, officers decided for safety reasons, to have the driver exit the vehicle while the citation(s) was written,” the information by police says. “The officers re-approached the vehicle and asked the driver to step out. The driver does not comply with the request. Officers explained to him the reason they would like him to step out, and politely asked multiple times for him to get out.”

“The driver continued to refuse to exit, so one of the officers reached in and tried to remove him from the vehicle. The driver partially stepped out of the vehicle but then leaned back in and reached for the gearshift as if to put the car into gear,” the police said. “The officer was able to turn the vehicle off and both officers then physically removed the driver from the driver’s seat. The officers attempted to gain control of the driver as he resisted, and a struggle ensued. The officers moved the driver to the front of the cruiser, using it in an attempt to gain control of him.”

Much of the attention at the community council was the interaction between officers and Lail before he was pulled from the vehicle. Some of the community council said they thought the officers could have done a better job communicating with Lail about why they were asking him to get out of the vehicle.

“In the spirit of de-escalation, when he asked the question, couldn’t they have just told him that as opposed to what seems to be somewhat arrogant ‘because I said so'?” asked member Branford Brown.

Members Moses Mbesha and Marc DeWitt shared similar concerns.

ExploreVideo shows Dayton officer punch suspect during arrest

Dayton police Lt. Col. Matt Carper, assistant chief of police, said during the meeting that police don’t always share information with suspects because officers don’t want them to know the extent of the trouble they are about to be in.

The officers started off friendly, respectful and patient with the driver and mentioned case law, Carper said, but the driver knew he was on parole and knew he illegally had a firearm in the vehicle.

“At some point, you’ve got to understand the reality of the mindset of someone who is on parole for felonious assault with a deadly weapon and who has a firearm inches from their knee,” Carper said.

Dayton Police said that after officers took Lail into custody, they found a black handgun sticking out of a panel in the center console, next to where the driver’s leg was. Lail told the Dayton Daily News that he is innocent.

Lail was booked into jail on carrying a concealed weapon, having weapons while under disability, improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle and parole violation. He was also issued multiple traffic citations, police said.

However, according to the Montgomery County Jail website, the gun charges were released by a detective Wednesday. Dayton police said Lail is still being held in jail on the parole violation.

He could face formal charges at a later date.

Statement issued Wednesday evening by Police Chief Richard Biehl:

"The criminal investigation is proceeding against the driver in this incident, and a Dayton police sergeant is handling the investigation into the officers' actions during this incident. That investigation is ongoing and once completed will be available to the public.

"Based upon the video currently available, physical evidence as well as statements from witnesses at the scene, the arrested individual, and the involved officers, there is no evidence that the arrested person was punched in the face and there is no evidence that either of the arresting officers placed a knee on the arrested person’s neck. There is no evidence that the arrested person incurred any significant injuries. The only documented injuries were abrasions, and the arrested person was treated and released from a local hospital within a short period of time and then admitted to the Montgomery County Jail.

“It is worth noting that these officers professionally and patiently made repeated requests (about 12) and provided reasoning from the law to the driver regarding exiting the vehicle. This still did not result in compliance, and as a result required officers to physically remove the driver from the vehicle.”