NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – The public was invited to a town hall for a black man who was severely injured while in the custody of a New Haven Police Department on Tuesday night.

The room on the second floor of the Stetson Library was packed in support of Richard “Randy” Cox.

Some people came with signs that said “Justice for Randy.” The family of Cox is outraged and wants the police officers involved to be held accountable. 

“If someone is saying ‘help, I think my neck is broken I can’t move,’ how many times did he need to say it?” Latoya Boomer, Cox’s sister, asked the crowd.  

Last Sunday, 36-year-old Richard Cox was arrested for a weapons charge on Lilac Street. Cox was placed in a transport van to take him to the New Haven Police Department. Police say the driver was approaching an intersection and stopped abruptly to avoid colliding with another car. Cox was thrown to the back of the van. Cox was in handcuffs and the van didn’t have seatbelts. 

New Haven Police say the officer driving should have called an ambulance for Cox. Instead, he drove to the police department where Cox told officers he couldn’t move and his neck was broken.  Officers ignored his calls for help and dragged him into a cell. His family says he is paralyzed from the neck down. 

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who represented the families of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, is representing Cox. He made an emotional statement to the crowd, asking them to join the fight for change. He and his team are preparing a lawsuit. 

“Constitutional rights apply to Randy Cox. You cannot deny him reasonable medical assistance that is obvious,” This is about police culture,” said Crump. 

NAACP leaders were in attendance. They renewed the call for better treatment of black people by police. 

“Black life is devalued in American society. Mr. Cox’s case is tragic but not complicated. This wouldn’t happen to a white man,” said Michael Jefferson with the NAACP. 

New Haven mayor Justin Elicker and the heads of the New Haven police department were also in the audience. Towards the end of the town hall, they expressed their desire for justice and a thorough investigation of what happened that day. 

“We will treat people in this community better or there won’t be any police officers,” said Karl Jacobson, assistant police chief. 

“We have fired officers that didn’t do the right thing in the past two years I’ve been mayor. But we live in a system where people have rights. And we have to see that process through,” said Mayor Justin Elicker.