NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The five New Haven police officers charged in an incident that left a man paralyzed pleaded not guilty Wednesday morning.
Officers arrested 36-year-old Richard “Randy” Cox in June 2022 on a weapons charge, which was later dropped, and placed him inside a police van with no seatbelts. When the van stopped abruptly, body camera footage shows Cox being launched headfirst toward the front of the van’s holding area, smashing his head into the wall.
Despite begging for help, Cox did not receive immediate medical assistance. Officers then dragged him across the floor and placed him into a cell. The incident left him paralyzed from the chest down.
Officer Luis Rivera, Officer Jocelyn Lavandier, Officer Ronald Pressley, Sgt. Betsy Segui and Officer Oscar Diaz, who have all been on administrative leave since late June, were charged with misdemeanor second-degree reckless endangerment and cruelty to person (s). Each posted a $25,000 bond.
On Wednesday, the five officers entered not-guilty pleas in New Haven Superior Court. Virtual pre-trial hearings are scheduled for February.
When asked by News 8’s Eva Zymaris for comment as they left the courthouse, they all said, “no comment.”
Following the officers’ pleas, renowned civil rights attorney Ben Crump released a statement on behalf of Cox’s legal team.
“It is absolutely shameful that these officers fail to see how their actions led to the trauma and severe injury that caused Randy Cox to be paralyzed from the chest down. Since these five officers failed to take accountability for their actions, they will now have to face a trial, where the prosecution will present significant evidence against their claims of no guilt. We are confident that will show just how little humanity Randy was shown and how that contributed to his lifelong, catastrophic injuries.”
The city-led internal affairs investigation to determine if the officers will be fired from the New Haven Police Department is ongoing.
In December, Cox’s legal team agreed to begin settlement talks with the city of New Haven in a $100 million civil case. The lawsuit alleges negligence, use of excessive force, denial of medical treatment, and the intentional infliction of emotional distress.
“I think we’ve been clear all along that we want to find a pathway to settle here,” New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said. “The first step in this process is for us to have this mediation that we all agree to. It’s going to occur virtually on Feb. 9.”
Meanwhile, a new complaint seeks to add American Medical Response and their EMTs as liable parties. The filing alleges that responding AMR personnel failed to examine, stabilize, and transport Cox properly.
News 8 reached out to AMR for comment about the complaint, but they have not responded.