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Civil rights attorney calls on New Haven for justice after a man was paralyzed in police custody

Prisoner Injured Connecticut
New Haven Police
/
AP
In this photo taken from surveillance video, Richard Cox slides down the back of a police van while being transported after being detained by New Haven Police, June 19, 2022, in New Haven, Connecticut. Officials said on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, that two New Haven officers have been placed on paid leave and three others were reassigned after Cox was seriously injured in the back of a police van.

High-profile civil rights attorney Ben Crump said he will lead the legal fight on behalf of a Black man who was seriously injured while in police custody in New Haven, Connecticut.

Crump and local activists demanded justice for 36-year-old Randy Cox during a rally outside the state courthouse in New Haven.

Cox was being taken to a New Haven police station on June 19 after he was arrested on a weapons charge. He was handcuffed while in the back of the van, which was not equipped with seat belts.

Body camera footage shows Cox flying headfirst inside the van when Officer Oscar Diaz slammed on the brakes. Diaz said he tried to avoid a collision. The incident paralyzed Cox from the chest down. He remains in intensive care at a local hospital.

Crump is known for representing the family of George Floyd. He said this incident involving Cox is identical to the case of Freddie Gray, another Black man who died from spinal injuries while in the back of a Baltimore Police van in 2015.

“This is the Freddie Gray case on video”, said Crump. “Thank God we got the video so they can’t deny what happened.”

Scot Esdaile, president of the Connecticut chapter of the NAACP, questioned whether a court would believe the New Haven Police department’s account that this was all an accident.

“No one had compassion for that young man," Esdaile said. “That is not what we call protecting and serving.”

Crump has called for "complete transparency" from the city and wants a meeting with New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker.

Five New Haven officers have been put on leave while state police conduct an independent investigation.

Mike Lyle joined WSHU Public Radio in early 2021 as a News Anchor, and was brought on full time to cover Connecticut news. He is an anchor/reporter at New England Public Media, a journalist with the National Press Club, and a weekend/fill-in news anchor at WTIC News/Talk 1080.