DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – During the first city commission meeting since video of the Clifford Owensby incident was released, dozens of community members signed up to publicly share their comments and dozens more rallied outside of city hall.
These social justice and human rights organizations are demanding that the officers involved are suspended, Owensby is given a public apology by the officers and the chief of police, an outside agency conducts the investigation into the case, and use of force policy changes are immediately implemented.
“Sixteen times, Clifford Owensby said ‘I’m a paraplegic, and I cannot move’…unbelievable,” said Tommy Owens Jr. one of the community members who addressed the commission. “All eyes right now are on Dayton, Ohio.”
Owensby himself attended the meeting, but left after emotionally addressing the commission and saying more of the video should be released.
Owensby’s family, including his children and his mother, were in attendance. His mother said that in the past, he had been pulled over by police, but the results were not the same.
“A [supervisor] came, he…defused the situation and he allowed my son to move on. Why did that not happen this time? Because the malice in those officers hearts,” said Caroline Smith, Owensby’s mother.
Mayor Nan Whaley said she was glad the community felt free to share their thoughts and address their concerns at the meeting.
“Our commitment is to make sure that we give [Owensby] a thorough investigation through this as well as everyone involved…this work is not over, we do not pretend that its over and we still have a lot of work to do clearly,” she said.
Despite protestors asking for an outside agency to conduct the investigation, city manager Shelley Dickstein says a Professional Standards Bureau investigation is underway, and is expected to be completed in 4-6 weeks.
“The purpose of a professional standards investigation is to determine whether the officers’ actions were consistent with departmental policies procedures and training,” she said. “Considering the depth of an investigation of this nature and multi levels to review this process can and should take time.”
The investigation includes a thorough review of dozens of documents and records related to the case, an interview of the officers involved, and the creation of an internal summary that will be shared with the assistant chief of police for approval.
City leaders are asking for the community’s patience as the process of the investigation continues. Dickstein said they do plan to publicly share the findings of the investigation once they are made available.