NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – The five New Haven police officers involved in the incident that left Richard “Randy” Cox paralyzed in June have been arrested.
The five officers were charged with second-degree reckless endangerment and cruelty to persons by state police. Both charges are misdemeanors. The officers posted a 25,000 bond and are due in court on Dec. 8.
The officers involved are Officer Oscar Diaz, Sgt. Betsy Segui, Officer Ronald Pressley, Officer Jocelyn Lavandier, and Officer Luis Rivera. All five department members have been on paid administrative leave since the incident.
City officials said the officers were served the warrants on Monday morning.
“We need to be transparent and accountable. Period,” said New Haven Police Chief Karl Jacobson. “You cannot treat people the way that Mr. Cox was treated.”
Following the arrests, New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker released a statement saying:
As I’ve said from day one, the City of New Haven is committed to accountability for all individuals involved in this tragic incident. Based on today’s arrests, it’s clear that the State’s Attorney has determined there is probable cause that the actions of these officers violated state criminal laws – and, ultimately, the final verdict will be appropriately decided through the criminal justice system. I’m glad to see the process is moving forward to help ensure that justice is served.
The City of New Haven also remains committed to pursuing an expedited resolution to the related civil lawsuit and to continuing to advance the comprehensive police reforms and policy changes that the City has adopted and enacted since the incident.
What happened to Randy was unacceptable, and we will work to make sure something like this never happens again.New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker
On June 19, Cox was arrested for unlawfully possessing a firearm. He was handcuffed and placed inside a police van that had no seatbelts. When the van stopped abruptly, the video shows Cox being launched headfirst toward the front of the van’s holding area, smashing his head into the wall. Cox did not receive immediate medical help.
The incident left Cox paralyzed from the chest down.
In September, a lawsuit was filed against the City of New Haven and the five officers involved in Cox’s transport. They are being accused of negligence, use of excessive force, denial of medical treatment, and the intentional infliction of emotional distress.
In October, all charges against Cox from the day of the arrest were dropped.
Last week, the officers filed documents with the court defending themselves and their involvement in the case.
Sgt. Betsy Segui and Officers Oscar Diaz, Ronald Pressley, and Luis Rivera claim in the documents filed in federal court this week, in reaction to the lawsuit against them, that they are “entitled to qualified immunity from all liability” in the case. In addition, Officer Jocelyn Lavandier “moves to dismiss in its entirety.”
Jacobson released a statement saying:
Now that the Connecticut State Police has completed its investigation and the State’s Attorney has brought charges against the five officers involved in this incident, I have directed the New Haven Police Department’s Office of Internal Affairs to immediately resume our internal investigation into this matter.
The Office of Internal Affairs will officially review the incident in its entirety and determine whether the officers violated NHPD protocols and procedures. Once the investigation is complete, I will review the findings and make recommendations as to what discipline may be appropriate.
I have authority to issue discipline up to a 15-day suspension and any recommendation beyond that must be referred to the New Haven Board of Police Commissioners, who would then ultimately decide on the appropriate discipline, up to and including termination.
The NHPD is committed to ensuring this investigation is conducted in a professional, thorough and timely manner both for the integrity of the police department and to continue to rebuild trust with the community we are so proud and privileged to serve.New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker
Cox’s legal team spoke after the arrests, saying they’re pleased to see action taken.
“We remain hopeful and put our faith in the criminal justice system they will continue to do the right thing,” said Attorney R.J. Weber.
Attorney Ben Crump and the family of Cox will hold a news conference on Tuesday to discuss the charges against the officers. The press conference will be held at 1 p.m. in New Haven.
Stay tuned to News 8 for updates on this story.