Five police officers have been arrested and charged in connection with the transportation incident that left a man paralyzed from the chest down.
Randy Cox, 36, was being transported to a New Haven police station, without safety restraints in a police van, on June 19 on suspicion of illegal possession of a handgun. The driver of the van abruptly stopped and Cox, who was handcuffed, slid down a long bench and landed head first into a metal wall inside of the van.
“I can’t move. I’m going to die like this. Please, please, please help me,” Cox said minutes after the crash.
“I think I cracked my neck,” Cox said after the van arrived at the detention center, where officers mocked him, accused him of faking his injuries, and suggesting he drank too much.
“You didn’t crack it, no, you drank too much … Sit up,” said Sgt. Betsy Segui, one of the five officers charged.
Eventually, officers lift Cox up and drop him into a wheelchair. Cox starts falling out of the wheelchair when two officers appear to hold him up.
After Cox is processed at the jail, the video shows him appearing to slip partially off the seat of the wheelchair.
Video shows officers dragging him from the wheelchair and across the floor into a holding cell before propping him against a bed.
As the last officer in the cell walks away, Cox falls on the floor.
Cox was later found to have a fractured neck and was paralyzed.
Five New Haven police officers were charged Monday with second-degree reckless endangerment and cruelty, both misdemeanors.
“What happened to Mr. Cox was just terrible and completely unacceptable,” New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said in June. “It will not be tolerated in the New Haven Police Department.”
Cox’s family filed a federal lawsuit against the city of New Haven and the five officers in September. The lawsuit alleges negligence, exceeding the speed limit and failure to have proper restraints in the police van.
Ben Crump, attorney for the Cox family, said the New Haven officers need to be held accountable.
Four of the officers have filed motions claiming qualified immunity, arguing that their actions did not clearly violate any “clearly established” legal standard.
New Haven officials announced a series of police reforms this summer stemming from the case, including eliminating the use of police vans for most prisoner transports and using marked police vehicles instead. They also require officers to immediately call for an ambulance to respond to their location if the prisoner requests or appears to need medical aid.
The officers turned themselves in at a state police barracks Monday. Each was processed, posted a $25,000 bond and are due back in court Dec. 8, according to a news release from state police.