NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The family of a man seriously injured while in the custody of New Haven police joined his legal team outside the courthouse in New Haven Tuesday, demanding justice.
The attorney for Richard “Randy” Cox, 36, said he is paralyzed from the chest down. His family said he is on a ventilator and unable to speak.
On June 18, New Haven police officers responded to a block party for the report of Cox carrying a gun. Officers arrested Cox for unlawfully possessing a firearm.
While being transported in a van that had no seatbelts, police said Officer Oscar Diaz had to stop abruptly to avoid a crash. In the video, Cox is seen going head-first into the back wall of the van and heard calling for help.
Diaz continued to the detention center, where officers found Cox lying on the floor of the van, unable to move. Video shows officers dragging Cox out of the vehicle by his feet and putting him in a wheelchair. Cox was then taken to the hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery.
His family said what happened on June 18 has changed their lives forever and called for action.
“I’m calling for the officers involved to be fired and arrested,” Cox’s sister said. “I’m calling for any bystanders that didn’t say anything to be suspended and retained. See something, say something!”
Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, known for representing the families of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, joined attorney Jack O’Donnell, Scot X. Esdaile, the president of the NAACP Connecticut State Conference, and Cox’s family at Tuesday’s press conference.
“This is a man who has said, ‘I can’t move my neck; I can’t move my arms…'” Crump said. “Are you going to try and act like Randy Cox’s life doesn’t matter, or are you going to do the right thing?”
Diaz and four other members of the New Haven Police Department are on paid administrative leave as state police continue investigating the incident.
“Mr. Cox was mistreated. He should have received medical attention immediately. We can’t defend anything that was released,” said Assistant Chief Karl Jacobson, New Haven Police Department.
“We need to ensure that we’re empowering more officers to have the tools that they need and the culture to say to another officer, even if it may be an officer that oversees them, ‘hang on, are we doing the right thing here?,'” said New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker.
New Haven police said the department has made changes, including taking every van with no belts in it out of rotation and implementing training, to ensure this never happens again.
Cox’s legal team said they are looking at every possible legal action and they said a lawsuit will be filed within 60 days. They are also hoping to sit down with the city about this.