NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The five New Haven officers charged in an incident that left a man paralyzed faced a judge for the first time on Thursday.
Officers arrested 36-year-old Richard “Randy” Cox on June 19 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 – all on administrative leave since late June – each face misdemeanor charges of second-degree reckless endangerment and cruelty.
They were arraigned quickly and back to back on Thursday, and no one entered a plea. A judge moved their cases to a higher court in New Haven. Their next appearance will be on Jan. 11. No additional information was released during the arraignments.
Jack O’Donnell, an attorney on Cox’s legal team, was at the courthouse Thursday.
“He’s a strong individual,” O’Donnell said. “He’s doing his very best to stay positive to fight through all the rehab that zaps his energy and all the related issues that come from being bedridden and immobile.”
According to Cox, his client told him, “he was disappointed that they were not felonies. He thinks they were undercharged.”
The officers’ cases were moved to a higher court in New Haven because of a possible conflict of interest. O’Donnell said Cox wanted to be in court Thursday but couldn’t for logistical reasons.
“When I met with him earlier this week at his rehab facility, he indicated that he liked very much to be there,” O’Donnell said. “He’d like for the police officers to see his face.”
The internal affairs investigation led by the city is underway and will determine if the officers will be fired from the New Haven Police Department.
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.
Last week, a Cox family attorney told News 8 the negotiations have not started, but the parties will likely begin discussions shortly.
News 8 reached out to the officers’ attorneys for comment but did not hear back. The five officers are due back in court on Jan. 11.