DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN)- It’s been several weeks since an altercation between Dayton Police and a man identified as Clifford Owensby was caught on camera. Owensby told police he was a paraplegic during a traffic stop on September 30. Officers dragged Owensby out of the car before arresting him.
There were no charges related to the incident against Owensby, but he did receive two citations. One for having an unrestrained child in the backseat and another for having dark tinted windows.
Owensby said he felt humiliated and violated by the confrontation and is now filing a complaint and a lawsuit against the department.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley is crediting recent police reform work for bringing Clifford Owensby’s case to light.
“We didn’t have body cameras before police reform and we committed that no matter what we see we would share it,” said Whaley. “At the end of the day we want every Daytonian and every person who interacts with police to be treated fairly and with respect, period.”
The city of Dayton formed five police reform groups following a summer of unrest and calls for police reform. These five group address different areas and are made of more than 125 community members. Each is led by a city commissioner.
Jeffrey Mims Jr., city commissioner and co-lead of the Use of Force group, says he was concerned by footage of the incident.
“We put a lot of faith and a lot of effort into a very strong 8 to 9 month police reform process, so to see something like this happen before we could implement all of the recommendations, it’s disappointing for us,” he said.
The working groups have come up with more than 140 recommendations to improve community policing. Only a few have been implemented so far, but that includes body camera policies as well as training programs for both officers and citizens.
“We have extensive work with police officers about how they can identify and de-escalate a set of circumstances so that we don’t have situations where it has the potential to get out of hand. [And] to look at ways that we can inform citizens of what their rights are if they are stopped by the police,” said Mims.
Owensby has filed a complaint against the department and is also pursuing a lawsuit. The police department is doing a Professional Standards Bureau investigation and once the results are shared, decisions will be made from there.
“I hope that they make the best decision for this city and the best decision for the citizens. The decision I think is best is one that restores and maintains the faith that our citizens have as far as the work being done by police,” said Mims.