DAYTON — Cell phone video shared on social media shows Dayton police chasing a man through the Westown Shopping Center parking lot and one officer punches the man as he attempts to handcuff him.
The video prompted about a dozen people to protest outside of Dayton Police headquarters for what they described as an example of excessive force.
“One of the officers kneeled on his neck or somewhere to his neck and other officers started punching him,” said Donald Domineck, a member of Dayton’s New Black Panther Party.
Dayton police tell us the three minute video is only the last part of a lengthy confrontation. News Center 7 has requested dash cam video of the entire incident. While the video is being prepared, Dayton police provided their timeline for the incident, which is included in-full at the bottom of this story.
Investigators said the officers saw the man run a red light at Hoover and Gettysburg, caught up to him and pulled him over in the shopping center parking lot. They learned he was on parole for felonious assault.
“Officers explained to him the reason they would like him to step out and politely asked multiple times for him to get out,” Dayton police said in a statement.
Police said the man, identified in a police report as 26-year-old George Lail, refused to get out and a struggle began. Lail has a 2010 conviction for aggravated burglary and felonious assault, court records show.
Officers managed to pull him out but as they tried to handcuff him he ran away, leading to the parking lot chase and dive to the ground. Police said Lail continued to resist and ignored commands to put his hands behind his back.
“One officer punched the driver three times in the right shoulder, which did not lead to compliance. The officer then utilized the taser, which led to the officers being able to handcuff the driver without incident,” police said.
Police also said they discovered a handgun, which Lail’s previous conviction prohibits him form carrying, in the car’s center console.
Protesters Wednesday said that discovery doesn’t excuse what they called police brutality.
“You don’t have to beat the hell out of him and put him in the hospital, it’s unnecessary,” Domineck said.
NAACP Dayton Chapter President said, “While all the evidence is yet to be determined, this is another incident that shows the need for body cameras that could provide a clearer picture of the interaction between police and members of the community.”
Police said Lail was checked at the hospital after complaining of a medical condition.
An hour later, he was booked into jail for carrying a concealed weapon, having a weapon under disablilty, because of that previous conviction and for numerous traffic violations.
People at this morning’s protest said an incident like this doesn’t help the momentum of the five working groups that the police and community established, looking to reform the department and establish better relationships with the community.
The Dayton City Commissioners also issued a joint statement about the incident along with their video footage before the one above started
“We are aware of the video that has been circulating online of an arrest by Dayton Police at Westown Shopping Center. The police reform process that this Commission began several months ago was created not only to change policy but to examine and – hopefully – begin to repair a deficit of trust that clearly exists between our community and the police who serve it. Trust is certainly tested whenever there are use-of-force incidents between Dayton Police and citizens. Trust can only occur with transparency, and this Commission is committed to ensuring that all of the facts about the incident at Westown Shopping Center this weekend come to light. We are hopeful that the community members and Dayton Police officers who have been willing to engage in difficult conversations during this reform process will continue their work of making our community safer for all of our residents.”
COMPLETE DAYTON POLICE STATEMENT:
- Just before 2 p.m., a 2-unit Dayton Police crew witnessed a white Dodge Durango fail to stop for a red light at Hoover and Gettysburg avenues. The officers attempted to catch up to the vehicle and initiated a traffic stop in the parking lot of the Westown Shopping center.
- Officers approached the vehicle and made contact with the driver explaining why they stopped him and asked for his license and other documents. Officers returned to their cruiser, ran the driver’s information and determined he was on parole for felonious assault.
- With this information, officers decided for safety reasons, to have the driver exit the vehicle while the citation(s) was written. The officers re-approached the vehicle and asked the driver to step out. The driver does not comply with the request. Officers explained to him the reason they would like him to step out, and politely asked multiple times for him to get out.
- The driver continued to refuse to exit, so one of the officers reached in and tried to remove him from the vehicle. The driver partially stepped out of the vehicle but then leaned back in and reached for the gearshift as if to put the car into gear. The officer was able to turn the vehicle off and both officers then physically removed the driver from the driver’s seat. The officers attempted to gain control of the driver as he resisted, and a struggle ensued. The officers moved the driver to the front of the cruiser, using it in an attempt to gain control of him.
- While attempting to handcuff the driver, he was able to slip out of the officers’ grasp and took off running. One officer tries to deploy his Taser, but it was not effective. The driver ran through the shopping center parking lot and eventually fell in front of a store. Once on the ground, the driver continued to resist the officers by pulling his hands and arms underneath his body. The officers gave commands to put his hands behind his back, but they are ignored.
- One officer punched the driver three times in the right shoulder area, which did not lead to compliance. The officer then utilized his Taser, which led to the officers being able to handcuff the driver without further incident.
- The driver then complained of a medical issue. The officers immediately called for a medic from Dayton Fire to respond. The driver was taken to Miami Valley Hospital where he spent less than an hour and was then transported to jail.
- The officers also immediately contacted their sergeant to report the Response to Citizen Resistance/Aggression/Non-Compliance (RTAR). Based on standard practice, the sergeant is now investigating the incident.
- When officers took inventory of the driver’s vehicle, a black handgun was found sticking out of a panel in the center console, next to where the driver’s right leg would have been.
- Due to a previous conviction, the driver is unable to legally possess a firearm.
- The driver was booked into the Montgomery County Jail on the following charges:
- Carrying a concealed weapon
- Having Weapons while under disability
- Improper Handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle
- Parole Violation
- Issued multiple traffic citations