Police officers arrested after van prisoner was paralyzed seek program to have charges erased

Sep 13, 2023, 2:07 PM

FILE - In this image taken from police body camera video provided by New Haven Police, Richard "Ran...

FILE - In this image taken from police body camera video provided by New Haven Police, Richard "Randy" Cox, center, is pulled from the back of a police van and placed in a wheelchair after being detained by New Haven Police on June 19, 2022, in New Haven, Conn. The five former Connecticut police officers who were arrested for allegedly mistreating Cox, then a prisoner, after he was paralyzed in the back of a police van, applied Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, for a probation program that could result in the charges being erased.(New Haven Police via AP, File)

(New Haven Police via AP, File)

Five former Connecticut police officers who were arrested for allegedly mistreating a prisoner after he was paralyzed in the back of a police van applied Wednesday for a probation program that could result in the charges being erased.

The applications further frustrated Richard “Randy” Cox’s supporters, who have criticized prosecutors for only charging the five former New Haven officers with misdemeanors — negligent cruelty to persons and reckless endangerment.

A judge in New Haven scheduled a Nov. 1 hearing to determine whether the ex-officers are eligible for accelerated rehabilitation, a program generally for first-time offenders that can erase minor criminal charges if defendants successfully complete a period of probation.

“I’m praying the judge does the right thing — hold them accountable to the full extent of the law and send a strong message to police officers … that there is zero tolerance for this type of behavior,” said Scot X. Esdaile, president of the NAACP’s Connecticut State Conference.

Cox, now 37, was left paralyzed from the chest down June 19, 2022, when a police van he was riding in braked hard to avoid a collision with a car, sending him head-first into a metal partition. His hands were cuffed behind his back and the van had no seat belts. Cox had been arrested on charges of threatening a woman with a gun, which were later dismissed.

“I can’t move. I’m going to die like this. Please, please, please help me,” Cox said minutes after the crash, according to police video.

Once at the police station, officers mocked Cox and accused him of being drunk and faking his injuries, according to surveillance and body-worn camera footage. Officers dragged Cox by his feet out of the van and placed him in a holding cell prior to his eventual transfer to a hospital.

In June, Cox and the city of New Haven agreed to settle his lawsuit against the city and the officers for $45 million, which Cox’s lawyers called the largest-ever settlement of a police misconduct case.

The case drew outrage from civil rights advocates such as the NAACP, along with comparisons to the Freddie Gray case in Baltimore. It also led to reforms at the New Haven police department as well as a statewide seat belt requirement for prisoners.

Cox is Black, while all five officers who were arrested are Black or Hispanic. Gray, who also was Black, died in 2015 after he suffered a spinal injury while handcuffed and shackled in a city police van.

The five New Haven officers — Oscar Diaz, Betsy Segui, Ronald Pressley, Jocelyn Lavandier and Luis Rivera — have pleaded not guilty to the charges. Diaz was the van driver, while Segui was a supervisor in the police lockup.

All the officers were fired except for Pressley, who avoided discipline by retiring in January.

Segui’s lawyer, Gregory Cerritelli, said Wednesday that he expected her application for accelerated rehabilitation to be approved.

“These are two misdemeanors, so I can’t believe a judge under these circumstances wouldn’t grant her the benefit of that program,” he said, adding “the crime is not of a serious nature.”

State prosecutors declined to comment on the applications.

National News

Associated Press

$1.04 billion Powerball jackpot tempts players to brave long odds

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An estimated $1.04 billion Powerball jackpot will be up for grabs Monday night, tempting players to spend a couple dollars on a longshot chance at instant riches. The prize is the world’s ninth-largest lottery prize behind earlier drawings of Powerball and Mega Millions, the other nearly nationwide lottery game. The […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

US expands probe into Ford engine failures to include two motors and nearly 709,000 vehicles

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. auto safety investigators have expanded a probe into Ford Motor Co. engine failures to include nearly 709,000 vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also said in documents posted Monday on its website that it upgraded the investigation to an engineering analysis, a step closer to a recall. The investigation now […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Car drives through fence at airport, briefly disrupting operations, officials say

A car crashed through a fence at Maine’s busiest airport, traveled on a service road alongside a runway and then was abandoned, causing a brief disruption, officials said. The episode unfolded Sunday morning at Portland International Jetport, when the abandoned sedan was spotted after it had crashed into a second fence in a secure area […]

2 hours ago

File - The Southern University Human Jukebox marching band warms up before the 2023 National Battle...

Associated Press

Federal student loan payments are starting again. Here’s what you need to know

Federal student loan borrowers will need to start making payments again this month after a three-year-plus pause due to the pandemic.

2 hours ago

FILE - Protesters shout before a speaking engagement by Ben Shapiro on the campus of the University...

Associated Press

Few Americans say conservatives can speak freely on college campuses, AP-NORC/UChicago poll shows

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans view college campuses as far friendlier to liberals than to conservatives when it comes to free speech, with adults across the political spectrum seeing less tolerance for those on the right, according to a new poll. Overall, 47% of adults say liberals have “a lot” of freedom to express their views […]

11 hours ago

Fencer Kirsten Hawkes poses for a portrait at a fencing studio Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023, in San Dieg...

Associated Press

Forced kiss claim leads to ‘helplessness’ for accuser who turned to Olympics abuse-fighting agency

DENVER (AP) — When Kirsten Hawkes, a one-time elite fencer, reached out to her childhood coach for advice about starting her own fencing club, their meeting turned awkward right away. It began, she said, with an unwanted kiss on the lips when the two met at a bar during a fencing tournament in Minneapolis last […]

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Police officers arrested after van prisoner was paralyzed seek program to have charges erased