2 more officers fired after man was paralyzed in police van

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2 more Connecticut officers fired after man became paralyzed in police van

/ CBS News

Two more police officers have been fired in connection with a June 2022 arrest in New Haven, Connecticut, in which a man became paralyzed after getting injured in the back of a speeding police van. A total of four officers have now been fired in the wake of the incident.

The New Haven Board of Police Commissioners voted Wednesday to terminate Officer Oscar Diaz, who was driving the van, and Sgt. Betsy Segui, the city said in a news release.

Earlier this month, the board also voted to fire officers Jocelyn Lavandier and Luis Rivera.

All four had been suspended since last summer, and the firings were recommended by the New Haven Police Chief Karl Jacobson, the city said. A fifth officer who was suspended for the incident, Ronald Pressley, retired in January, according to the New Haven Register.

All five were criminally charged last November with second-degree reckless endangerment.

On June 19, 2022, Randy Cox was arrested at a New Haven block party after officers responded to a weapons complaint. Police at the time said Cox, an ex-felon, was carrying a firearm illegally.

Cox was placed in the back of a police van being driven by Diaz, police said. The van was speeding when Diaz came to a sudden stop to avoid a collision with another vehicle, causing Cox — who was not wearing a seatbelt — to hit his head and injure his neck.

Cox wound up being paralyzed from the chest down.  

Portions of the incident were captured on police bodycam video. Cox, unable to move, can be heard repeatedly asking for help as officers disregard his injuries. He was processed and dragged into a cell before officers finally called for an ambulance.

“Mr. Cox was mistreated,” Jacobson, then the New Haven assistant police chief, said last June. “He should’ve received medical attention immediately. We can’t defend anything that was released.”

Earlier this month, the city of New Haven reached a $45 million misconduct settlement with Cox.

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said Wednesday in a statement that the board’s decisions to fire all four officers were “important and necessary steps towards ensuring accountability for the mistreatment of Randy Cox while he was in their custody and care.”

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