Five Connecticut cops who ignored the plight of a Black man as he became paralyzed while in their custody have been charged with misdemeanors.
Randy Cox, 36, had been arrested on gun charges and was riding in the back of a police van in New Haven on June 19 when the driver made an "abrupt" stop that sent him slamming headfirst into one of the vehicle's walls.
The sudden collision turned out to have fractured Cox's neck, leaving him permanently paralyzed from the neck down.
He immediately tried to alert the driver, Officer Oscar Diaz. Eventually, Diaz pulled over, but he continued to ignore Cox's pleas for medical assistance.
Instead, Diaz took him to a detention center. Upon arrival, other officers told Cox to "sit up" and "stop playing around" while they dragged him into a wheelchair. Once inside the building, they dragged him out of the wheelchair and left him on the floor of a holding cell.
When Cox said he cracked his neck, Officer Betsy Segui responded, "You didn't crack it - no, you drank too much."
Diaz, Segui and fellow Officers Jocelyn Lavandier, Ronald Pressley and Luis Rivera were each charged with reckless endangerment and cruelty. The initial gun charge against Cox was has been dropped.
"You can make mistakes, but you can't treat people poorly, period," New Haven Police Chief Karl Jacobsen said Monday in announcing the charges. "You cannot treat people the way Mr. Cox was treated."
The case has been compared to the death of Baltimore man Freddie Gray after he was seriously injured in a police van.
With News Wire Services