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Five New Haven officers face criminal charges in incident that left Randy Cox partially paralyzed

In late September the family of Randy Cox and Attorney Benjamin Crump announced the official opening of a civil suit against the city of New Haven and the five officers involved in the incident that left Cox paralyzed. Criminal charges have now been filed against all five officers by the state's attorney. Left: Ben Crump. Right: Doreen Coleman, mother of Randy Cox.
Tyler Russell
Connecticut Public
In late September, the family of Randy Cox and attorney Benjamin Crump (left) announced the official opening of a civil lawsuit against the city of New Haven and the five officers involved in the incident that left Cox paralyzed. Criminal charges have now been filed against all five officers by the New Haven state's attorney. At right is Doreen Coleman, mother of Randy Cox.

Connecticut State Police arrested five New Haven officers Monday on criminal charges related to an incident that left local resident Randy Cox paralyzed from the chest down.

Police camera footage released to the public showed that Cox was injured in a police van on the way to a police station in June and failed to receive prompt medical attention after he informed officers he couldn’t move. The officers face charges of second-degree reckless endangerment and cruelty to persons.

The charges against Sgt. Betsy Segui and officers Oscar Diaz, Ronald Pressley, Jocelyn Lavandier and Luis Rivera followed an investigation by the New Haven state’s attorney.

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker addressed the criminal charges Monday at a news conference.

“It’s clear that the state’s attorney believes that there is probable cause that the actions of these officers violated state criminal laws,” Elicker said. “Ultimately, the final verdict will be appropriately decided through the criminal justice system.”

John P. Doyle Jr., New Haven state’s attorney, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

New Haven Police Chief Karl Jacobson said that with the filing of criminal charges and the conclusion of the state’s attorney’s investigation, the five officers will also face an internal affairs investigation from the police department to determine if additional steps need to be taken.

“You’re never happy when a police officer is arrested, right? But the bottom line is to be transparent and accountable,” Jacobson said. “And I believe this is part of the process. And we need to move forward with our part of the investigation.”

The officers involved had been placed on administrative leave. Each officer is represented by their own attorney, and Connecticut Public is reaching out to them for comment.

Cox and his family filed a $100 million lawsuit against the five officers, the City of New Haven and the police department in September. Ben Crump, the attorney representing the Cox family, issued a statement Monday evening.

“While today’s news that these officers will face some accountability is an important first step towards justice for Randy, we know there is more work to be done on his behalf. We will continue to fight for him throughout this process, and stand beside him as he navigates the long road toward recovery,” Crump said.

Crump, members of Cox’s family and NAACP Connecticut President Scot X. Esdaile plan to hold a news conference of their own Tuesday afternoon at New Haven City Hall in response to the charges.

The video below shows the interaction between New Haven police and Randy Cox.

Advisory: This video contains graphic content that may be disturbing to some viewers.

“The city of New Haven remains committed to pursuing an expedited resolution on all the issues raised in the lawsuit,” Elicker said. “City’s attorney and attorneys for the officers are actively engaged in setting a schedule for the discovery process, and hopes the case will proceed towards an early mediation.”

In recent court filings, attorneys for several of the police officers claimed they were not liable due to qualified immunity, which broadly protects officers and municipalities.

Charges against Cox that led to his June arrest were dropped this fall.

“I want to reiterate, what happened to Randy was unacceptable, and we want to do everything possible to ensure that this never happens again,” Elicker said.

This story is developing and will be updated.

Cassandra Basler oversees Connecticut Public’s flagship daily news programs, Morning Edition and All Things Considered. She’s also an editor of the station’s limited series podcast, 'In Absentia' and producer of the five-part podcast Unforgotten: Connecticut’s Hidden History of Slavery.
Matt Dwyer is an editor, reporter and midday host for Connecticut Public's news department. He produces local news during All Things Considered.
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