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New Haven Police officers are in hot water, after a viral video surfaced of their lack of initiative and harsh treatment towards Randy Cox, a 36-year-old Black man.
On June 18th, Cox was arrested at a block party when Connecticut officers were called on Lilac Street, after someone stated that he had a gun. Authorities state that during the arrest, Cox was being uncooperative and is a convicted felon, which means that he’s not permitted to have a gun.
The officers arrested Cox and placed him in the back of a police van, with no seatbelts. Shortly after, Cox flew into the front of the vehicle after Officer Oscar Diaz hit the brakes to avoid a car accident in the area of Division Street and Mansfield Street.
Cox’s story is reminiscent of Freddie Gray
Suffering life-long damages from the collision, Cox broke his neck after smashing his head into the wall when the car crashed. Pleading to the officers for assistance, as his motionless body lay in agony, Officer Diaz continued driving the van, ignoring Cox’s call for help. A few minutes later, Diaz stopped the van to check on Fox, who could not move his body.
Diaz called paramedics but instructed them to meet him at the police station instead of directing them to the hospital. Before being taken to the hospital to treat his injuries, the officers dragged Cox into a police cell. While at the station, the officers hauled Cox out of the van by his feet, tossed him into a wheelchair, booked him into jail, and then dragged him along the ground with his head slumped.
According to Assistant Chief Karl Jacobson, Officer Diaz, the driver of the van, did not follow a department policy that requires officers to seek medical assistance and wait for paramedics when an individual is in distress inside a police vehicle.
The incident occurred last week but received national attention after Ben Crump uploaded the video of the officers’ harassment of Cox on Twitter.
Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney representing Cox, said his client was arrested without incident for unlawfully possessing a firearm and then placed into a police van without seat belts. While in the vehicle, Cox’s head banged against the wall when he was thrown down the car during an abrupt stop. A statement put forth by Crump’s office states: “[Officer] Oscar Diaz, and other officers, did not follow protocol to wait for medical assistance and dismissed his pleas as lies… [Cox was] thrown into a wheelchair that may have exacerbated his life-threatening injuries. The officers involved in the incident have been placed on leave.”
Crump stated, expressing his rage at the officers, “This video is HORRIFIC! Randy Cox was put in a police van without seatbelts and, after an abrupt stop, was thrown into the wall HEAD FIRST. We literally witnessed his neck break! As he was STILL lying on the van floor, he told the officers that he couldn’t move. What did they do?” Then proceeds to post the gruesome and disturbing video for the audience.
In a statement released, Crump stated, “Randy’s quality of life will forever be diminished by the irresponsible actions of Oscar Diaz and the other New Haven police officers while he was under their custody.”
All five officers involved in the incident, either while in the van or working at the detention facility, were placed on administrative leave. These officers include: Officer Diaz, Sgt. Betsy Segui, Officer Ronald Presley, Officer Jocelyn Lavandier, and Officer Luis Rivera.
Since Officer Diaz did not follow proper protocol, Cox now remains on a ventilator and a feeding tube. The actions taken and not taken by the officers raise questions amongst many individuals, as the lack of initiative led to Cox breaking his neck and being paralyzed.