Man at center of police video, protests denied bond in federal court

ajc.com

A man at the center of a video that showed him flee, then being punched and Tased as Dayton police officers attempted to handcuff him, was denied bond in a federal court case Wednesday.

George Lail, 26, will remain in Butler County Jail pending a potential indictment and trial. He is facing a federal complaint of being a felon in possession of a firearm in connection to a gun that was found in a vehicle he was operating Sept. 7.

Video released by Dayton Police shows officers asking Lail to step out of his vehicle during a traffic stop because he was on parole for an earlier felonious assault conviction.

The Dayton police body camera and dash camera videos show Lail question officers why they are asking him to step out of the car. The video ultimately shows officers forcing him out of the vehicle. Officers said during the struggle, Lail reached for the gearshift as if to put the vehicle into gear.

Dashcam video from Dayton police over disputed police stop. Note: several seconds of audio removed due to profanity.

The Facebook video captured Lail trying to flee before officers catch him. While on the ground, a Dayton police officer can be seen punching Lail three times and tasing him while officers attempt to handcuff him.

Dayton Police issued a statement saying Lail was not complying with officers' orders and was resisting arrest. Police also said that they found a gun in the vehicle after they took Lail into custody.

A local expert who reviewed the videos last week at the request of the Dayton Daily News said officers responded properly.

ExploreVideo shows Dayton officer punch suspect during arrest

Lail and his family have questioned whether the force used by officers was appropriate. Lail also told the Dayton Daily News over the phone from the Montgomery County Jail last week that the vehicle was a rental and he didn’t know a gun was inside.

The videos sparked protests last week and over the weekend in front of the Dayton Public Safety building and throughout downtown Dayton. The protesters demanded the release of Lail and that the officers in the video be disciplined.

ExploreProtestors march for the release of George Lail

In a criminal complaint filed in the federal court case against Lail, FBI Task Force Officer Patrick Bell said Dayton officers recovered a 9mm Taurus PT 111 Millennium G2 and the weapon was loaded with six rounds in the magazine and none in the chamber.

“Based on my training and experience, I am aware that Taurus firearms are not manufactured in the state of Ohio,” the criminal complaint says. “As such, I conclude that this firearm previously moved in interstate and/or foreign commerce to reach Lail in this state.”

The criminal complaint also says that detectives listened to phone conversations of Lail from the Montgomery County Jail. The complaint says Lail spoke to an unknown man and said that law enforcement found the black and gray firearm.

“The male then quickly concocts a story to explain how the firearm got in the vehicle and tries to get Lail to understand him and go along with it,” the complaint says.

During the detention hearing Wednesday, the attorney representing Lail told the court that Lail deserved a bond. He said while he was on parole for a previous felony at the time of the most recent arrest, Lail had been doing well for three years on state supervision and that he has strong family and Dayton ties.

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

The defense argued that Lail was not a flight risk and was willing to be on 24-hour electronic monitoring.

Federal prosecutors argued the opposite. The prosecutor argued that Lail did not comply with police officers during the arrest and that he wouldn’t comply with the conditions of bond if released.

“He is on parole. That circumstance alone, it may not create a statutory presumption (of detention) but it’s a common-sense presumption that he is a danger to the community,” prosecutor Brent Tabacchi said.

They also noted the court’s pretrial service recommended that he be kept in jail without bond.

Federal Magistrate Sharon Ovington ruled that there were no conditions that could reasonably assure Lail’s appearance in court and that he would be detained without bond pending trial.