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'A slap in the face': Charges for New Haven police officers fall short, Randy Cox’s family says

Family of Randy Cox speaks after officers are arrested
Tyler Russell
/
Connecticut Public
The family of Randy Cox and civil rights attorney Ben Crump hold a news conference after the arrests of the five officers involved in the incident that resulted in Cox being paralyzed in police custody.

Five New Haven police officers face misdemeanor criminal charges stemming from a June incident that left a Black resident paralyzed from the chest down. But people close to Randy Cox say those charges fall short.

The officers should have been arrested on felony assault charges instead, said Cox’s attorney, Ben Crump, who addressed reporters Tuesday afternoon.

“They got a misdemeanor, slap on the wrist, where they’ll probably see little to no jail time, and Randy Cox has a life sentence,” Crump said of Cox's injuries.

Crump, a nationally known civil rights attorney, is representing Cox in a $100 million lawsuit against the city of New Haven, the police department and the officers involved.

Cox was injured while being transported to police headquarters. An officer driving the van said he braked to avoid an accident. Cox was later dragged into a police holding cell after he said he couldn’t move.

Family members joined Crump Tuesday in New Haven.

“These charges were a slap in the face,” said Cox’s sister Latoya Boomer.

She also said the family is waiting for the officers to be fired.

Boomer read a message from her brother, who called the arrests “a nice start to getting justice.”

“It’s time for a change,” Randy Cox added in his note. “This ain’t about me. It’s about the people that come after me so no one else has to go through this.”

Doreen Coleman said she rides a city bus every day for an hour to see her son. She worries about nurses getting busy and not having the time to properly care for him.

She encourages concerned citizens to pray for Cox.

“Cheer him on. Let him know it will get better, it should get better, but if not, at least let him know that you want him to get better,” Coleman said.

Lou Rubano, another attorney representing Cox, spoke alongside Coleman. He said that Cox will never walk again and that medical experts who evaluated Cox estimated the family would need $20 million for round-the-clock care he would need for the rest of his life.

Crump said there haven’t been settlement talks with the city yet, but he emphasized that the money would be necessary to make sure Cox’s condition doesn’t worsen.

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said “we all want to resolve this in a settlement.”

“We want to ensure something like this never happens again and that what happened to Randy was unacceptable,” Elicker told reporters after the Cox family’s news conference. “I’ve also said that this process will take time and that it will be frustrating because it always takes more time than any of us would like it to take, but we have to follow the process.”

Meanwhile, New Haven Police Chief Karl Jacobson said the furthest he can go to punish the officers involved in the incident is a 15-day suspension. He said that termination would ultimately be up to the city’s Board of Police Commissioners.

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