Justice Department Secures Settlement with Dayton, Ohio, Police Department to Ensure Non-Discriminatory Treatment of People with Disabilities
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Ohio
The Justice Department announced today that it entered into a settlement agreement with the City of Dayton, Ohio, and the Dayton Police Department (DPD) under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to resolve allegations that DPD discriminated against a driver during a traffic stop.
The ADA requires that cities, law enforcement agencies and other public entities provide individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in their services, including policing. The ADA also requires a police department or other public entity to reasonably modify its practices when necessary to avoid discrimination.
This agreement resolves a complaint by a driver who is paraplegic and uses a wheelchair who was pulled over by DPD officers. The officers ordered him to get out of his car, but he did not have his wheelchair with him. He told the officers that he could not get out safely without his wheelchair. Over his protests, the officers ordered him out, and refused his request that they call a supervisor. The officers also did not call for assistance or equipment to enable the driver to safely exit. Instead, they pulled him out of his car onto the ground, handcuffed him and dragged him to a police car.
“No one should be subjected to discriminatory treatment during police interactions and that includes people with disabilities,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Law enforcement agencies and their officers are required to make reasonable modifications to their policies and procedures when interacting with people with disabilities and failure to do so may violate federal civil rights law. The Justice Department will vigorously enforce the ADA to ensure that police officers are not discriminating against people with disabilities.”
“Ensuring that law enforcement officers understand the scope of the ADA will only positively impact their connection with the people in the communities they serve,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker for the Southern District of Ohio. “There are so many people with different disabilities whom officers may find themselves interacting with on even a daily basis, so having them trained in this area is imperative.”
The two-year agreement requires DPD to modify its policies to be consistent with the ADA, provide training for police about how to better interact with individuals with disabilities, and to report on its progress to the Justice Department.
This matter was handled by the Civil Rights Division’s Disability Rights Section in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio.
The Justice Department plays a central role in advancing the nation’s goal of equal opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities. For more information on the Civil Rights Division, please visit the ADA website at www.justice.gov/crt. For more information on the ADA, please call the department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (TDD 800-514-0383) or visit www.ada.gov. ADA complaints may be filed online at www.ada.gov/complaint/.
Updated June 12, 2023