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‘Was He Not Worthy of Humanity?': Community Rallies Around Man Paralyzed in Police Custody

More than a week ago, New Haven Police said Randy Cox was in the back of a police van when it stopped suddenly to avoid an accident, and he was left paralyzed.

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The family of a man seriously injured after a ride in a police van is demanding justice. People packed a town hall Tuesday night to call on New Haven to do better.

City leaders say they’re going to do everything possible to make sure it happens.

Residents, elected officials and several organizations, including the NAACP, came out to show support for the Cox family and to express their outrage at a gathering inside the Stetson Library in New Haven.

“At any point in time if someone is saying, ‘Help. I think my neck is broken. I can’t move.’ How many times do they need to say it?” asked Richard Cox’s sister, LaToya Boomer.

Richard Cox, nicknamed Randy, remains in the hospital, according to family.

The family’s attorney, Ben Crump, represented George Floyd’s family and says he met with Cox for the first time today.

“Randy understood what situation he was facing. Even though he can hardly move anything from his chest down, maybe his left shoulder is the most they can get out of him, he could communicate by blinking his eyes and moving his head and, most sadly, crying tears,” Crump said.

“LaToya’s brother went into that police paddy wagon walking and talking and breathing on his own, and he came out that paddy wagon unable to speak, unable to walk, and unable to move."

-Ben Crump

More than a week ago, New Haven Police said Cox was in the back of a police van when it stopped suddenly to avoid an accident, and Cox was injured.

Video released by officials show Cox dragged by officers at the detention center while waiting for paramedics to arrive. Since then, city leaders said the five officers involved have been placed on leave and state police are investigating.

Attorney Ben Crump and the family of Richard (Randy) Cox are calling for justice after he was left paralyzed from the chest down due to a incident while in police custody in New Haven.

“You could see his head bobbing around. They’re throwing him around, dragging him around,” Boomer said.

“Was he not worthy of humanity?” Crump asked.

Crump said they’re demanding criminal and civil justice, accountability and policy changes to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

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“It is the right thing to do, to stand up for justice for Randy Cox, to speak up for justice for Randy Cox, to fight for justice for Randy Cox,” Crump said.

Assistant Chief Karl Jacobson, who has been nominated as New Haven’s next police chief, and Mayor Justin Elicker spoke, apologizing to the family and promising continued transparency.

“Once they’re in police custody, we owe the person respect. And we owe that person safety. And we did not accomplish that."

-Mayor Justin Elicker

“This isn’t a proud moment for me or the police department. We are all disheartened by what happened, and I want justice for Randy, as well,” Jacobson said.

The mayor said they’re looking to implement additional training for officers to make sure they speak up when they see a colleague doing something that’s not right. They’re also transporting prisoners in police cruisers, where they’re required to wear a seatbelt, instead of vans as they work to develop procedures and training.

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