A man paralyzed in the back of a police van has received a $45 million settlement from the city after officers mocked him and accused him of lying about his injuries.
New Haven, Connecticut agreed to pay Randy Cox $45 million after he became paralyzed as he was transported to jail handcuffed and without a seatbelt in the back of a police van after his arrest last year, the mayor and city attorneys said Saturday.
The deal was reached Friday evening after a day-long conference with a federal magistrate, Mayor Justin Elicker said. It came two days after the city fired two police officers who authorities say treated Cox, 36, recklessly and without compassion.
“The city’s errors have been well documented,” said a statement from attorneys Ben Crump, Louis Rubano and RJ Weber, who represented Cox. “But today is the time to look to the future, so that the people of New Haven can have confidence in their city and their police department.”
Cox, 36, was left paralyzed from the chest on June 19, 2022, when the police van he was in braked hard, sending him face-first into a metal bulkhead while his hands were cuffed behind his back . Cox had been arrested for threatening a woman with a gun, which was later dismissed.
New Haven, Connecticut has agreed to pay 36-year-old Randy Cox (pictured) $45million after he was paralyzed while being transported to prison.
Cox was left paralyzed from the chest on June 19, 2022, when the police van he was in braked hard, sending him face-first into a metal bulkhead while his hands were cuffed behind his back.
‘I can not move. I will die like this. Please, please help me,’ Cox said minutes after the crash, according to police video.
Once at the police station, officers mocked Cox and accused him of being drunk and faking his injuries, according to surveillance and body camera footage. Officers dragged Cox by his feet out of the van and placed him in a holding cell ahead of his eventual transfer to a hospital.
Five officers, including those who were fired, face criminal charges in the case. The five New Haven police officers were charged with second-degree reckless endangerment and cruelty to persons. They were placed on administrative leave after the incident. They all pleaded not guilty.
Officer Oscar Diaz was the driver of the van and was accompanied by Sergeant Betsy Segui. Officers Ronald Pressley, Jocelyn Lavandier and Luis Rivera were working in the holding area when Cox was dragged into a holding cell in a wheelchair.
The officers visited a state police barracks in November. Each has been processed, posted $25,000 bond and is due back in court Dec. 8, according to a state police news release.
In September, Cox’s attorney Ben Crump, who represented the families of George Floyd, Breanna Taylor and Trayvon Martin, said he was suing the police for $100 million. His lawyers called the settlement the largest-ever settlement in a police misconduct case.
Since the horrific ordeal, Cox has undergone several surgeries
The settlement came two days after the city fired two police officers who authorities say treated Cox recklessly. The five New Haven police officers were charged with second-degree reckless endangerment and cruelty to persons. They pleaded not guilty
Crump said the city should take responsibility for what happened and repeatedly said that “it shouldn’t have been necessary for Cox to take legal action.”
He said: ‘If we say, we respect Randy Cox’s life and respect Randy Cox’s life experiences… then we have to show that through action, not just rhetoric, not just saying we care. black lives, but we have a real duty in New Haven and across America to show that we believe black lives matter.
Crump said Cox was suffering from “mental anguish which is probably worse than death itself,” the Hartford Courant reported.
Since the horrific ordeal, Cox has undergone several surgeries.
Crump said giving Cox “a basic quality of life” would cost $20 million to $30 million, including upgrading a van and 24-hour care.
Cox had not planned to make any public comments over the weekend, Rubano said.
“He kind of relived what happened to him throughout the day yesterday, so it was a very emotional day,” the lawyer said over the phone. “He is relaxing now.”
The case sparked outrage from civil rights advocates like the NAACP
The case has drawn outrage from civil rights advocates like the NAACP, as well as comparisons to the Freddie Gray case in Baltimore. Cox is black, while the five arrested officers are black or Hispanic. Gray, who was also black, died in 2015 after sustaining a spinal injury while handcuffed and shackled in a city police van.
New Haven police have since enacted reforms that include making sure all prisoners wear seat belts. The state Senate has given final approval to legislation that would require seat belts for all prisoners transported on June 5.
“Randy got into a police transport vehicle being able to walk, and now he can’t walk,” Elicker said at a press conference on Saturday. He said he spoke with Cox’s mother earlier that day.
“What I shared with her is that while this settlement may not return Randy to his original state when he entered that police transport vehicle, I hope it will provide Randy future medical support and any other support he needs,” Elicker said. . “Randy is 36 years old, and we hope he has a long life ahead of him with the kind of support and care he deserves.”