Five Connecticut officers arrested for reckless endangerment and criminal cruelty against black people were left paralyzed after the arrest

Five Connecticut police officers connected to the arrest of a black man who left him paralyzed from the chest down have been charged with misdemeanor charges for their involvement in the events leading up to his injury.

Police Chief Karl Jacobson said his department wants to be transparent about which officers are being prosecuted: “You can make mistakes, but you can’t mistreat people, period.”

Paralyzed man behind police car
Randy Cox was paralyzed after being caught in a police car (screenshot police video)

On Monday, November 28, New Haven officers Oscar Diaz, Ronald Pressley, Jocelyn Lavandier and Luis Rivera and Sgt. Betsy Segui of the New Haven Police Department learned that they were being subjected to reckless second degree endangerment and cruelty to persons for detaining, arresting, transporting and caring for Randy Cox on June 19, Yale Daily News reports.

Both charges are Class B misdemeanors under Connecticut law, which carry a sentence of no more than 6 months in prison.

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said at a news conference announcing the indictments, “Based on today’s arrests, it is clear that the prosecutor believes there is probable cause that the actions of these officers violated state criminal statutes .”

“I am pleased that the process is moving forward to ensure justice is done,” the mayor added.

A press release from the state police revealed that an arrest warrant was being prepared on Tuesday, November 22, and after charges were filed, officers at the state police barracks surrendered. They were processed and offered $25,000 in bonds. Each of the officers has posted bail and is due back in court on Thursday, December 8th.

On the day officers were transporting Cox to a police station 11 miles away to be treated for a weapons charge, the driving officer slammed on the brakes to avoid a collision in front of Yale’s Schwarzman Center. Because Cox was not wearing a seat belt in the back of the squad car, the jerking of the abruptly stopped car caused him to crash headfirst into the car’s door.

Reports and camera evidence show that Cox asked officers for help, telling them he believed he had broken his neck and was unable to move. But they refused. Instead, officers mocked him, accused him of being drunk and said he was faking his injuries.

Diaz called for medical attention but left before they could get to the Schwarzman Center. Diaz was subpoenaed for violating NHPD policy as she continued to central booking at the NHPD headquarters at 1 Union Ave. drove instead of waiting.

When Cox was brought into the cell, officers not only believed him, but reportedly dragged him by his feet out of the van and into a holding cell. Eventually, Cox was taken to a hospital where his injuries were diagnosed and treated.

This announcement comes after a five-month investigation by state police and Atate’s attorney Jack Doyle’s office. The CSP completed its investigation into the conduct of the five officers and turned their findings over to Doyle for review.

Cox’s attorneys, attorney RJ Weber and civil rights attorney Ben Crump, said they were satisfied with the charges.

Weber told reporters, “We are pleased to see the prosecution and criminal justice system at work. What happened here today will never change the fact that Randy Cox is paralyzed from the neck down and has been alive since March 19.

While the state is filing criminal charges, Weber and Crump have filed a $100 million civil suit. That lawsuit was filed on Tuesday, October 4, with officials only recently filing their responses and affirmatively defending the complaint.

Pressley, Diaz and Segui have asserted qualified immunity and contributory negligence on the part of Randy Cox.

Lavandier, one of the officers involved, requested through attorneys that the case against her be dismissed on procedural grounds.

The city was named in the civil lawsuit, and in its response and affirmative defense, its attorneys said the community invoked government immunity, qualified immunity and complicity of Randy Cox in its defense. Five Connecticut officers arrested for reckless endangerment and criminal cruelty against black people were left paralyzed after the arrest

James Brien

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