City leaders apologizes for officer’s eye contact traffic stop

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dayton city leaders are apologizing, but standing by the police department after a man claims an officer pulled him over for making eye-contact with him.

At a city commission meeting this week, Dayton City Manager Warren Price said, “We regret, we apologize,” for the lack of clarity for why John Felton was stopped, but he stands by the Dayton Police Department and calls it a lawful traffic stop.

We told you earlier this week that Felton is claiming his civil rights were violated during the August stop. Felton recorded video of Officer Randy Betsinger pulling him over. The officer originally tells Felton he was being pulled over for not signaling properly before turning.

During the video, you can hear Felton saying, “I’m not doing nothing. Because I have a Michigan plate, other than that, why was you tailing me?” Officer Betsinger proceeds to say, “Because you made direct eye contact with me and held on to it while I was passing you on Salem.”

Felton was not given a citation, but did get a warning. He has since contacted an attorney. That attorney has said the situation is discriminatory and basically racist.

2 NEWS Investigates obtained Officer Betsinger’s personnel record. It says he was involved in two separate accidents while on duty since May. The performance history report says they were both deemed to be his fault. He was given an oral reprimand and an employee counseling form.

Officer Betsinger completed his officer training in September of 2014. He also has two written commendations in his record.

City Manager Price says Officer Betsinger has been ordered to report to the police academy to receive additional training in traffic stops.

An administrative investigation is also in the works because of the racial profiling allegation.

The Dayton Police Department issued a statement that says, “The traffic infraction was verified by the video; however making direct eye contact with an officer is not a basis for a traffic stop. The Dayton Police Department is in contact with Mr. Felton. He has agreed to a conversation with the officer, facilitated by the Dayton Mediation Center.”

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