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Randy Cox is suing the city of New Haven for $100 million after he was left paralyzed from the chest down in June when he broke his neck inside a police van with no seatbelts.
According to the lawsuit, Randy Cox, was sitting handcuffed in the back of a police van in June, when New Haven police officer Oscar Diaz slammed on the brakes to avoid an accident, sending Cox headfirst into the wall where he broke his neck.
Pleading to the officers for assistance as his motionless body lay in agony, Officer Diaz continued driving the van ignoring Cox’s calls for help. Police video shows the officers dragged him by his feet from the van and placed him in a holding cell at the police station before paramedics transported him to a hospital.
This is heartbreaking. ? A sudden stop caused Randy Cox to break his NECK in a transport van that wasn’t equipped with seatbelts. Because New Haven (CT) officers ignored his pleas for help, he went from being a healthy man to now paralyzed. This is unacceptable!! pic.twitter.com/B4UO2eoFmN
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) July 4, 2022
“The treatment of Mr. Cox while in the custody of the New Haven Police Department was completely unacceptable, and the City of New Haven is deeply committed to doing everything within its power to ensure an incident like this never happens again,” Mayor Justin Elicker said.
Five officers, including Officer Diaz who was driving the police van, were placed on administrative leave.
New Haven officials announced a series of police reforms this summer stemming from the case, including eliminating the use of police vans for most prisoner transports and using marked police vehicles instead. They also require officers to immediately call for an ambulance to respond to their location if the prisoner requests or appears to need medical aid.
Randy Cox’s Story Is Reminiscent of Freddie Gray
The treatment of Randy Cox while in police custody drew strong comparisons to Freddie Gray, who was killed in 2015 after Baltimore police placed him handcuffed in a police van without a seatbelt, causing him to suffer a spinal injury.
Six Baltimore officers were involved in the arrest of Gray, and were charged in state court. Three officers were acquitted and charges against the remaining three were dropped by Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby.
Two years later the U.S. Department of Justice said they would not bring federal civil rights charges against any of the six officers, meaning nobody was held criminally responsible for his death.
The city of Baltimore reached a $6.4 million settlement with Gray’s family in a wrongful death settlement.