Family of man paralyzed in back of police van files $100M lawsuit in CT, attorney says

New Haven Police via AP

The attorneys for a Connecticut man paralyzed in police custody this summer filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit in federal court against New Haven and five police officers on Tuesday, Sept. 27.

Richard “Randy” Cox, 36, was arrested on a gun charge on June 19 and was handcuffed in the back of a prisoner conveyance van when the vehicle came to an abrupt stop, according to a news release from Mayor Justin Elicker. The vehicle did not have a seat belt, and Cox suffered significant injuries.

Cox was later dragged from the van and placed in a holding cell for “10 to 15 minutes” before paramedics came onto the scene, according to The Washington Post, citing body camera footage and the New Haven Police Department.

The collision left Cox with a fractured spine and “permanent paralysis below his neck,” among other medical issues, including contusions, scarring, a compromised immune system and permanent muscle atrophy, according to the suit.

Neither the New Haven Police Department nor Cox’s attorneys immediately responded to a request for comment from McClatchy News.

“I am deeply concerned by the way in which Mr. Cox was treated, transported and handled by the officers involved in this incident at the detention center,” wrote Elicker.

Five officers involved in the transport of Cox are on paid administrative leave for potential breaches of protocol, according to WTNH.

Speaking on the steps of New Haven City Hall at a news conference on Sept. 27, civil rights attorney Ben Crump announced Cox’s lawyers, R.J. Weber III and Lou Rubano, were filing a $100 million lawsuit against the city.

“This isn’t something that’s going to just go away next week, next month when the cameras go away,” Crump said in the conference, streamed by WTNH.

“He’s going to be in and out of the hospital for the rest of his life,” added Crump. “He has to be catheterized every three to four hours just to use the bathroom. … He has to be turned constantly to try to prevent the bed sores.”

The suit accuses five New Haven police officers of violating Cox’s Fourth and 14th Amendment rights.

The city is expected to respond to the suit shortly, according to WTNH.

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