Five New Haven, Connecticut, police officers accused of ignoring a Black man’s pleas for help after he suffered injuries in a police van causing him to be paralyzed from the chest down, have finally been charged with crimes more than five months after the incident occurred.
On Juneteenth of this year, Richard “Randy” Cox was arrested and charged with carrying a firearm without a permit, criminal possession of a firearm, threatening and two misdemeanors, all of which were ultimately dropped. But, as previously reported, Cox never made it to police headquarters because, while he was being transported in a van with no seatbelts, the officer driving the vehicle stopped abruptly to avoid a crash causing Cox to slide head-first into the van’s back wall. Now, that officer and four others have been charged with second-degree reckless endangerment and cruelty. Both charges are misdemeanors.
From the Associated Press:
As Cox pleaded for help, some of the officers at the detention center mocked him and accused him of being drunk and faking his injuries, according to dialogue captured by surveillance and body-worn camera footage. Officers dragged Cox by his feet from the van and placed him in a holding cell prior to his eventual transfer to a hospital.
“I think I cracked my neck,” Cox said after the van arrived at the detention center.
“You didn’t crack it, no, you drank too much … Sit up,” said Sgt. Betsy Segui, one of the five officers charged.
So now, Segui, Officer Oscar Diaz, Officer Ronald Pressley, Officer Jocelyn Lavandier and Officer Luis Rivera are finding out the hard way that they can’t just treat Black bodies any old kind of way just because they perceive a suspect as a criminal before they have even had their day in court.
“You can make mistakes, but you can’t treat people poorly, period. You cannot treat people the way Mr. Cox was treated,” said Police Chief Karl Jacobson.
“It is important—when you see that video of how they treated Randy Cox and the actions and inactions that led to him being paralyzed from his chest down—that those police officers should be held to the full extent of the law,” civil attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Cox, said after the charges were announced Monday.
All five officers turned themselves in at a state police barracks Monday and were released after posting a $25,000 bond. They are due back in court on Dec. 8.
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