Black Man Paralyzed While Being Transported in Police Van, Officers Seen in Footage Now on Leave [Video]

Five police officers in Connecticut are on administrative leave after a 36-year-old Black man was paralyzed while in their custody.

via People:

Richard “Randy” Cox, who is Black, was put into a police van by New Haven Police Department officers on June 19.

According to CBS News, he was arrested as a result of a weapons complaint, in which officers arrived on the scene of a block party and Cox, an ex-felon, possessed a firearm illegally.

In footage shared to Twitter by Cox’s lawyer Ben Crump, Cox, who was handcuffed and not wearing a seatbelt, can be seen sliding forcefully into a side of the van, head first, after the vehicle seemingly comes to a sudden stop. The driver stops to check on Cox and calls an ambulance, then continues to the detention center.

Officers are seen telling Cox, “Move your leg. Sit up” as he tells them, “I can’t move” and one officer responds, “You’re not even trying.” Officers eventually drag him out of the van feet first and put him in a wheelchair, after one officer tells him, “You just drank too much.”

After processing him while in the wheelchair, two officers are shown dragging Cox into a holding cell. At one point, one officer is heard saying of Cox, “He’s perfectly fine.”

On June 23, New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said in a letter that as a result of the incident, Cox “suffered serious injury to his neck and spine.”

“Upon learning of Mr. Cox’s injury, the officer made a call for medical assistance and proceeded to drive Mr. Cox to the detention center,” Elicker continued. “Mr. Cox made his injury known to other officers upon arrival at the detention facility. The officers involved proceeded to put Mr. Cox in detention — first attempting to do so by wheelchair and then physically moving him to detention.”

“From there, American Medical Response transported Mr. Cox to Yale New Haven Hospital where he underwent surgery. Sadly, Mr. Cox’s injury may result in his paralysis and he remains in critical condition,” he added.

Elicker also confirmed that all five officers involved in the incident — “the driver, three officers at the detention facility, and the detention facility supervisor” — have been placed on administrative leave, “until the Connecticut State Police completes their investigation and the City conducts its Internal Affairs investigation.”

Cox’s sister, Latoya Boomer, told CBS that the incident “made me sick to my stomach, to treat somebody like that.”

“At what point in time do you believe someone that’s saying, ‘I think my neck is broken?’ ” she added.

In a Tuesday press conference, from which clips were shared by CBS Mornings, New Haven Assistant Police Chief Karl Jacobson said, “Mr. Cox was mistreated. He should’ve received medical attention immediately. We can’t defend anything that was released.”

Jacobson added at a community meeting that day, led by Connecticut NAACP chapter President Scot X. Esdaile, “This isn’t a proud moment for me or the police department. We’re all disheartened by what happened, and I want justice for Randy as well. We are gonna work hard to make changes.”

In the latter meeting, Jacobson added that he watched the police footage “20 times, to remind me what I have to do with this police department and the changes I have to make, ’cause we do have good cops, but somebody’s gotta say something.”

According to Elicker, “An NHPD internal affairs investigation was opened and the Connecticut State Police, the State’s Attorney, the State Office of the Inspector General were promptly notified and briefed on the situation. The Connecticut State Police have subsequently taken over the investigation and the NHPD is fully cooperating.”

The mayor also revealed in his June 23 letter that the vans without seatbelts “have been taken out of service” and that the “NHPD is working to install seatbelts in those vans that do not have them.”

In an interview with CBS News, Crump said he is seeking “full justice” and “criminal accountability for those officers” involved, “but we also want to see policy changes.”

Boomer said her brother is now using breathing and feeding tubes, according to CNN.

His longtime attorney Jack O’Donnell told The New York Times that doctors are “hopeful, but not optimistic” that Cox will make a full recovery, and that he is scheduled to appear in court on July 21.

Those officers should be fired and face criminal punishment.

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