Randy Cox turns into paralyzed after sitting in New Haven police van, legal professional says

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Randy Cox was in the back of a New Haven, Conn. police van, arrested last week on gun charges, when the vehicle came to a sudden stop.

Cox, who was handcuffed and not wearing a seat belt, flew straight into the front of the truck holding area, hit his head against a wall and fell to the floor, according to video taken from inside the vehicle. published by many news agencies.

“Help,” the 36-year-old Black man groaned several times.

He remained in that position until arriving at the detention center about eight minutes later, when officers pulled Cox out of his car, placed him in a wheelchair, taunted him about his posture and dragged him again into the cell, according to body-camera footage. Cox was in custody for “10 to 15 minutes” before paramedics arrived to take him to the hospital, New Haven Police Department officials told reporters a day after the June 19 incident. .

Currently, Cox is paralyzed from the chest down and is on a ventilator, his attorney and family members said at a news conference on Tuesday, adding that Cox likely never will. I can walk now.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump said: “Randy Cox is lying in a hospital bed, paralyzed from the chest down because of the actions – and omissions – of the New Haven Police Department.

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker (D) said last week that Cox had injured “his neck and/or spine, which could have left him paralyzed.” At a separate Tuesday news conference, Elicker said five officials involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave. Connecticut State Police are investigating, he said.

Having watched the video “many times”, Elicker called the treatment of Cox by officers “terrible”. But he “did not see malice on the part of the officers,” he said. “I’ve seen some bad decisions, an extreme lack of compassion.”

The circumstances of Cox’s serious injuries drew immediate parallels with the case of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who suffered a severe neck injury in 2015 – and later died – after the Baltimore police drove him by truck. in handcuffs and leg shackles, not wearing seat belts. The incident sparked protests, and six officers were charged with various crimes stemming from the incident, although no one was convicted.

Five years after Freddie Grey, Baltimore continues to struggle

Cox’s case is “tragically similar,” Crump said, adding, “How many more times must we see Blacks being brutalized at the hands of those who were supposed to be right? protect and serve them?”

Assistant Sheriff Karl Jacobson told reporters last week that Cox’s vehicle did not have a seat belt.

Department officials said that at about 7:30 p.m. on June 19, officers responded to a 911 call regarding a “weapons complaint” on Lilac Street in New Haven. An investigation led them to Cox, who was in possession of a handgun, police chief Regina Rush-Kittle told reporters. Police arrested Cox for possession of a weapon, possession of a firearm without a license, and a violation of the peace, she added.

While in custody, Cox was “uncooperative,” Rush-Kittle said. He was put in the back of a transport van to be taken to a detention center about a nine-minute drive away, she said.

In the first minutes of the ride, video from inside the back of the truck showed Cox smashing his body into the truck’s sidewall and at one point he fell to the ground and kicked in the back door of the truck. truck. Cox was back on the bench when the vehicle came to a sudden stop, sending him head-on into the truck’s wall. The video shows, lying face down, Cox begins to cry for help.

Full-body camera footage of Police Officer Oscar Diaz, who officials believe was driving the truck, shows Diaz suddenly slamming on the brakes, honking his horn and gesturing angrily at another driver. “A car went right in front of us, and we almost got hit,” Diaz said from behind the wheel when Cox could be heard groaning in pain. Rush-Kittle told reporters Diaz made an “evasive maneuver” to avoid a collision.

Diaz asked if Cox was okay but continued driving for more than three and a half minutes before going to check on Cox, who was trying to tell Diaz he had fallen, according to the video. “I can’t move,” Cox said several times.

When Diaz stopped the car to check on Cox, the 36-year-old said he couldn’t move his arm. Diaz got back into the truck and continued on to the detention center, a few minutes away. He told Cox he called an ambulance.

Jacobson, the assistant chief, says the department’s procedure is for officers to stop and wait for medical attention if someone they’re transporting is injured.

At the detention facility, a group of officers asked Cox what was wrong and he again said he couldn’t move, according to the camera footage. Officers proceeded to pull Cox out of the car, asking him to “move your legs” and “sit up.”

“I couldn’t move,” Cox said.

“You’re not even trying,” one officer replied.

After officers pulled Cox’s prone body out of the car, they nearly placed him in a wheelchair, according to the footage.

In another room, an officer chided Cox for sitting “awkwardly” before suggesting Cox should sit up, the footage shows.

“If I could, I would,” Cox replied.

Officers then dragged Cox into a cell, where he briefly waited for an ambulance to take him to the hospital, according to video and police officials.

Cox underwent an emergency surgery on his neck, his family members said on Tuesday. Three days later, he had his second neck surgery.

Crump said the footage of the incident “shocked my conscience.”. “

“Why don’t they believe George Floyd when he said, ‘I can’t breathe’ 28 times? Why don’t they believe? Eric Garner he said, “I can’t breathe” … ” said Crump, referring to past victims of police brutality. when he said, ‘I can’t move?’ “

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