5 Connecticut officers charged after man they transported became paralyzed in police van

Wednesday, November 30, 2022
5 Connecticut officers charged after man paralyzed in police van
Five Connecticut police officers have been arrested and charged in connection with the transportation incident that left a man paralyzed from the chest down.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Five police officers have been arrested and charged in connection with the transportation incident that left a man paralyzed from the chest down, according to a Monday news release from the New Haven, Connecticut, State's Attorney's Office.

Randy Cox, 36, was arrested on June 19 on suspicion of illegally possessing a handgun. Video of his arrest shows him in a police transport van that had a long bench, but no seat belts. The driver of the van made an abrupt stop, and video showed a handcuffed Cox slide down the bench head-first into the back wall of the van.

The officers were charged with second degree reckless endangerment in violation of Connecticut General Statutes and cruelty to persons in violation of Connecticut General Statutes, the release said.

"According to the arrest warrant affidavits, the charges are the result of an investigation by the Connecticut State Police Central District Major Crime Squad," the release said, adding that State's Attorney John P. Doyle Jr. requested the squad to conduct a criminal investigation after being notified about Cox's injuries.

The arrests are based on Doyle's independent review of the "extensive investigative materials detailing Mr. Cox's arrest through his arrival at the detention center and to his subsequent transport to a medical facility," the release said.

Ben Crump, civil rights attorney, held a news conference Tuesday saying Cox's "family is becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of accountability all around, while Randy lays in a bed struggling to do the most basic things in life."

All five officers involved in the incident were released on $25,000 bond and are scheduled to appear in court Dec. 8, the release said. The offices were previously on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.

CNN has reached out to the New Haven State's Attorney's office for court documents related to the case.

Cox repeatedly asked officers for help

Police footage shows Cox repeatedly asking for help, saying he cannot move and thinks his neck is broken.

When he arrives at a detention center, officers tell him to sit up or get up off the van floor.

Cox again says he cannot move.

"You're not even trying," one officer says.

The video also shows an officer telling Cox he drank too much and to sit up.

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.

"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 suffered a serious injury to his neck and spine, ultimately leaving him paralyzed from the chest down, according to civil rights attorney Ben Crump.

As a result of his injuries, officials in the Connecticut city announced a series of reforms and police training requirements in July that include mandating the use of seatbelts in prisoner transport.

A federal civil suit was filed in the US District Court of Connecticut on September 27 on behalf of Cox. The suit alleges various claims including negligence, exceeding the speed limit, recklessness and failure to have proper restraints in the transport wagon, as well as claims against individual officers including excessive use of force and failure to render medical assistance, co-counsel RJ Weber said in September.

"There is no amount of money in damages that could compensate this man for the injuries that he sustained, for the injuries that he suffered ... and the pain that he has to endure physically, and more importantly mentally, for the rest of his god given life," Weber said at the time.

The-CNN-Wire & 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.