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Dayton Police Department finds officers did not violate use of force policy in Clifford Owensby arrest

Dayton Police Chief Kamran Afzal stands at a podium in the Dayton City Commissioners' room. He is announcing that the officers involved in Clifford Owensby's arrest last September were not fond in violation of the city's use of force policy.
Alejandro Figueroa
Dayton Police Chief Kamran Afzal gives a press conference on the officers involved in the Clifford Owensby case. Officers Wayne Hammock and Vincent Carter were found to not be in violation of the city's use of force policy when they dragged Owensby out of his car by his hair during a stop last September.

The Dayton Police Department says officers in the Clifford Owensby case did not violate use of force policy. Police Chief Kamran Afzal announced Monday, according to a review done by the Professional Standards Bureau, the officers Wayne Hammock and Vincent Carter acted based on their training.

Owensby was stopped by officers after leaving a suspected drug house in September. He was asked to step out of his car, but told officers several times he couldn’t because he’s paraplegic. He was then dragged out by his dreadlocks and handcuffed on the ground.

The department released body camera footage showing the traffic stop in early October. Shortly after, community members and activist groups held demonstrations outside of Dayton City Hall, calling for an official apology from the city and police department.

However, Afzal says an apology is not the right approach.

“We want to people to, if you have an issues with what our officers behavior, you have so many different ways in the city to make a complaint,” said the recently sworn in police chief. “Don't make a scene at that time because the law of the land gives the officer in the United States ability to effect that stop.”

The officers were found in violation of body camera policy. Afzal says the officers were given a memorandum of training for stopping the cameras after Owensby was taken into the police cruiser.

He has requested a review of the current policies and training, and says he will work with the legal department on making changes where needed.

“This department will continue to look for ways to improve officer training,” Afzal said. “Continuing education in this profession is not only required but imperative to ensure we are equipped to deliver the service of public safety to all those who live and work in Dayton.”

In a statement from Jeffrey Mims Jr., the new Dayton mayor says the incident fell fell below [his] expectations.”

“We can do better, and I am committed to continuing that work in Dayton and working to strengthen the community-police relationship,” Mims said in the statement.

President of the Dayton Unit NAACP Derrick Foward echoed those sentiments. In a press conference held later that afternoon, Forward says Owensby was compliant and that officers violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by not providing him with reasonable accommodations.

“My father was a law enforcement officer and I was proud to be his son,” Forward said. “Back then, that's what you call community oriented policing. When they walked the beat, when they knew, you know, the citizens within our community when they had a relationship.”

Forward says they are working with the Owensby family during this time. Owensby has filed civil lawsuits against the police department for the money seized during the stop, and the individual officers involved.

Mawa Iqbal is a reporter for WYSO. Before coming to WYSO, she interned at Kansas City PBS's digital magazine, Flatland. There, her reporting focused on higher education and immigrant communities in the Kansas City area. She studied radio journalism at Mizzou, where she also worked for their local NPR-affiliate station as a reporter.