The New Haven police chief is recommending terminating four of the officers charged in the transportation incident that left a man paralyzed from the chest down in a police van last year.
The officers transported Cox in a van after he was arrested in June 2022 on suspicion of illegally possessing a handgun. Video of the transport shows Cox, who was handcuffed, hit his head on the back wall of the van after an abrupt stop, leaving him paralyzed. The five officers pleaded not guilty in January, according to CNN affiliate WFSB.
The officers were identified by the New Haven State’s Attorney’s Office as: Officer Oscar Diaz, Officer Jocelyn Lavandier, Officer Ronald Pressley, Officer Luis Rivera and Sgt. Betsy Segui.
In a news conference on Tuesday, New Haven Police Chief Karl Jacobson said an internal affairs investigation was completed on March 6 and that he is now “recommending termination” for four of the officers involved, as Pressley retired in January.
Two other people will be disciplined for their roles in the incident, Jacobson said, but will not face termination or be identified.
“It was a long process,” Jacobson said. “This department has gone through a lot since that incident, this community has gone through a lot.”
The city’s Board of Police Commissioners, which has the power to fire officers, is expected to have hearings on the four recommended terminations in April, he said.
All charges against Cox were dropped in October. CNN has reached out to the officers’ attorneys and Cox’s attorney for comment.
After he was paralyzed, a federal civil suit was filed on behalf of Cox in the US District Court of Connecticut alleging various claims including negligence, exceeding the speed limit, recklessness and failure to have proper restraints in the transport wagon, as well as claims against individual officers including excessive use of force and failure to render medical assistance.
“When Randy Cox was arrested, he entered a police van able to walk and now he is not able to walk,” New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said in a separate news conference on Tuesday. “We need to ensure that this never, ever happens again.”
Since the incident, the police department has had many training sessions, policy revisions and have added seat belts into the prison vans, Jacobson said.
“We will be transparent, and we will be accountable, and we will hold our officers accountable,” the police chief told the community.