Five officers charged after man paralysed in Connecticut police van

Despite repeated pleas for help, a Black man in Connecticut has been charged with cruelly neglecting a van in the back of the police station, leaving him partially paralyzed.

Randy Cox, 36, was being driven to the New Haven police station for processing on weapon charges when the driver hard braked at an intersection to avoid a collision, causing Cox to fly headfirst into the metal partition in the van.

“I can’t move. I’m going to die in this condition. Please, please, please help me,” Cox expressed moments after the accident.

Based on the conversation recorded by surveillance and body-worn camera footage, a few of the law enforcement officials at the holding facility ridiculed him and alleged that he was intoxicated and pretending to be injured as Cox desperately implored for assistance. Cox was forcibly pulled by his lower limbs from the vehicle and confined in a detention cell before eventually being transported to a medical facility.

“I believe I injured my neck,” Cox stated after the van reached the detention facility.

“You didn’t crack it, no, you drank too much … Sit up,” said Sgt Betsy Segui, one of the five officers charged.

Cox was subsequently discovered to have a broken neck and was left paralyzed.

Oscar Diaz, Ronald Pressley, Jocelyn Lavandier, and Luis Rivera were the remaining individuals who faced charges. The five New Haven police officers were accused of second-degree reckless endangerment and cruelty, both of which are considered to be minor offenses.

All individuals have been on administrative leave since the previous summer.

Requests for comments were sent to lawyers representing the officers.

Diaz did not provide medical attention to Cox, who was lying face-down on the floor. After Cox complained of his injury, Diaz requested an ambulance to meet them at the detention center and spoke to him. Diaz drove the transport van that pulled over, and seemed to take Cox’s pleas more seriously than the other officers. Though each officer faces the same charges.

As per a news statement from state authorities, every individual was formally handled, submitted a $25,000 bail, and are scheduled to appear in court on 8 December. The law enforcement officials surrendered themselves at a state police outpost on Monday.

The mayor of New Haven, speaking to reporters on Monday, said that it was important for the police chief to be accountable and transparent to the department.

New Haven’s police chief, Karl Jacobson, expressed, “Treating individuals in the same manner as Mr. Cox was treated is unacceptable. It is not permissible to mistreat individuals under any circumstances, although errors can occur.”

Gray, who was also African American, passed away in 2015 inside a police van due to a spinal injury he sustained while being handcuffed and shackled. This incident has sparked anger among civil rights activists, such as the NAACP, and has been likened to the Freddie Gray case in Baltimore.

Ben Crump, the attorney representing Cox’s family, stated on Monday that the New Haven officers must be held responsible.

Crump stated, “It is crucial to observe the video of Cox Randy’s treatment and the actions and inactions that led to him being paralyzed from his chest downwards, in order to determine how police officers should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

The accusations against him were subsequently dismissed. Cox was taken into custody on June 19th following the authorities’ claim that they discovered him carrying a firearm at a neighborhood gathering.

The legal complaint claims carelessness, surpassing the designated speed, and lack of appropriate restraints in the law enforcement vehicle. Cox’s relatives initiated a federal lawsuit against the municipality of New Haven and the five police officers in September.

Four of the officers submitted requests last week, asserting qualified immunity from the lawsuit and contending that their conduct in the matter did not breach any “clearly established” legal criterion.

Instead of utilizing police vans for the majority of prisoner transports, New Haven officials declared a range of police reforms this summer, which encompass the utilization of designated police vehicles. Should the detainee request or demonstrate a need for medical assistance, officers are obligated to promptly summon an ambulance to attend to their whereabouts.