A man partially paralyzed after sliding head-first into the back wall of a Connecticut police van has had all charges against him dropped, the deputy chief clerk for the New Haven Superior Court said Thursday.
Randy Cox, 36, was arrested on June 19 on suspicion of illegally possessing a handgun.
Video of his arrest shows Cox getting into a police transport van that had a long bench but no seat belts.
When the driver makes an abrupt stop, Cox – who was handcuffed – slides down the bench head-first into the back wall of the van.
He is now paralyzed from the chest down, attorney Benjamin Crump said.
Police footage shows Cox repeatedly asking for help, saying he cannot move and thinks his neck is broken.
When he arrives at a detention center, officers tell him to sit up or get up off the van floor.
Cox again says he cannot move.
“You’re not even trying,” one officer says.
The video also shows an officer telling Cox he drank too much and to sit up.
Eventually, officers lift Cox up and drop him into a wheelchair. Cox starts falling out of the wheelchair when two officers appear to hold him up.
After Cox is processed at the jail, the video shows him appearing to slip partially off the seat of the wheelchair.
Video shows officers dragging him from the wheelchair and across the floor into a holding cell before propping him against a bed.
As the last officer in the cell walks away, Cox falls on the floor.
“What happened to Mr. Cox was just terrible and completely unacceptable,” New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said in June. “It will not be tolerated in the New Haven Police Department.”
Five New Haven police officers, including the van’s driver, have been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, Elicker said.
The five officers – along with the city of New Haven – are also named as defendants in a civil lawsuit filed on behalf of Cox.
The suit alleges various claims including negligence, exceeding the speed limit, recklessness and failure to have proper restraints in the transport wagon.
It also claims individual officers used excessive force and failed to render aid, co-counsel RJ Weber said.
“There is no amount of money in damages that could compensate this man for the injuries that he sustained, for the injuries that he suffered … and the pain that he has to endure physically, and more importantly mentally, for the rest of his God-given life,” Weber said.
In July, New Haven officials announced a series of reforms and police training rules that include requiring the use of seat belts in prisoner transport.