DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – In a Facebook video released Wednesday, October 20, Dayton Fraternal Order of Police Vice President Derric McDonald reacted to the arrest of Clifford Owensby in late September by the Dayton Police Department.
In response to the release of the Dayton FOP video, President Jerome Dix said, “As in every case we try to do due diligence in making sure we look at all the facts in each case. after reviewing video and evidence we saw the bigger picture. Officers spent two minutes pleading with this individual which is not being portrayed in the media. There were multiple occasions officers aided him,” said Dix.
Owensby was pulled over for a routine traffic stop when officers asked him to get out of the vehicle. Owensby refused, saying he was paraplegic and unable to walk. DPD body camera footage captured the entire encounter, with officers ultimately seen dragging Owensby out of the vehicle by his hair. Owensby was arrested by DPD and released shortly after.
Since the incident occurred, protesters have made their voices heard at Dayton City Hall demanding justice for Owensby. However, in the Dayton FOP video, McDonald said DPD isn’t in the wrong, and acted accordingly.
“Let me set the record straight,” said McDonald. “On September 30th Dayton Specially Trained Drug Unit was conducting surveillance on a house as part of a drug trafficking investigation. These activities go directly to the root of community crime problems, gangs, drug over doses, shootings, and other crimes.”
McDonald then says that Owensby was seen at the house, and pulled over for a routine traffic stop. “This was not a chance encounter,” said McDonald. He said during the stop, DPD officers discovered Owensby was a convicted felon with a drug conviction history.
“The Dayton officers calmly and respectively explained why they pulled Mr. Owensby’s car over. They also politely explain that the Ohio law gives them the right to have a K9 walk around the vehicle to check for drugs, and that the Dayton Police Policy requires everyone to be outside the vehicle during the K-9 search,” said McDonald.
Once Owensby revealed to the officers his condition, McDonald says officers offered five times to help Owensby get out of the car before warning that their only choice was to remove him by force, but that Owensby refused to comply.
McDonald said he believes the news has neglected to recognize the officers’ patience and efforts to peacefully remove Owensby from the vehicle.
Dayton NAACP President Dr. Derrick Foward said Owensby recognizes his past and learned from it, but it still didn’t give officers the right to treat him in the manner in which they did. “You heard the officers actions, you heard the officer getting upset, you heard the tone of his voice. Believe what your ears heard,” said Dr. Foward.
In a response to McDonald’s video, Dayton City Commissioner Jeffrey Mims says he believes the city has been supportive in the investigation process of the incident between both DPD officers and Owensby.
“We want at the end of the day, every set of experiences that happen between the police and our citizens to be fair,” said Commissioner Mims. “We want at the end of the day, especially if they’re minor incidents, that both the police and citizen can go home to their families at the end of the day without harm…without injury,” said Commissioner Mims.
Commissioner Mims also commended efforts by his police reform group and other city leaders for the push of DPD body cameras. “Had it not been for that we would not be discussing this issue because we would not have the tapes and information to validate that,” said Commissioner Mims.
2 NEWS reached out to DPD for a comment on The Dayton FOP video, and were referred to an October 8 statement which says in part:
“We recognize that we would all like to see interactions between citizens and police officers handled professionally. We need to do better, and this can be done by further developing the mutual respect and accountability necessary to make our city safer.”
A Dayton City Commission meeting is set for Wednesday, October 20 at 6pm. The City of Dayton is investigating the officer’s actions in the Owensby arrest, which is expected to take up to 6 weeks.