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5 cops hit with criminal charges after police-van incident left black man paralyzed

Five Connecticut cops were hit with criminal charges Monday for allegedly paralyzing a black man from the chest down during a ride in the back of a police van, authorities said.

Randy Cox, 36, was being brought to a detention facility in June by the New Haven Police Department, when the van made a hard stop to avoid a collision and caused Cox to violently slide head-first inside the van, according to footage captured of the incident.

Cox, who was being processed on a weapons charge, called out for help and said he could not move from the floor, according to video and officials.

“I can’t move. I’m going to die like this.,” Cox said minutes after the crash. “Please, please, please help me.”

Officer Oscar Diaz, the driver of the van and one of the five charged, at one point stopped the vehicle and checked on Cox, police said. But when he called paramedics, he told them to meet at the station instead of where the van was stopped, police said.

Randy Cox was injured while riding in the back of a police van, officials said.
New Haven Police Department

Some officers at the detention center made fun of Cox and accused him of being drunk or faking his injuries, according to dialogue captured by surveillance and body cam footage.

When Cox said he thought he cracked his neck, Sgt. Betsy Segui, who was also charged, replied, “you didn’t crack it, no, you drank too much … sit up.”

Cox was dragged by his feet to a holding cell before he was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with a fractured neck and left partially paralyzed.

Segui, 40, Diaz, 54, officers Ronald Pressley, 56, Jocelyn Lavandier, 35, and Luis Rivera, 40, were all charged with second-degree reckless endangerment and cruelty.

Five New Haven police officers were charged Monday over their treatment of a prisoner in June.
Five New Haven police officers were charged Monday over their treatment of a prisoner in June.

Each one turned themselves in and posted $25,000 bond with their next court date set for Dec. 8, Connecticut state police said.

New Haven Police Chief Karl Jacobson admonished their conduct Monday.

“You can make mistakes, but you can’t treat people poorly, period. You cannot treat people the way Mr. Cox was treated,” Jacobson said.

Cox’s family attorney Ben Crump called on the officers to be held accountable.

“It is important — when you see that video of how they treated Randy Cox and the actions and inactions that led to him being paralyzed from his chest down — that those police officers should be held to the full extent of the law,” he said Monday.

His family filed a federal lawsuit against New Haven and the five charged officials in September.

Cox was arrested on June 19 after police accused him of carrying a handgun at a block party, though the charges against him were later dropped.

The officers and sergeant have been on administrative leave since last summer. 

With Post wires

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