Five Connecticut police officers have been charged with cruelly neglecting a Black man after he was partially paralyzed in the back of a police van, despite his repeated and desperate pleas for help. Randy Cox, 36, was being driven to a New Haven police station on June19 for processing on a weapons charge when the driver braked hard at an intersection to avoid a collision, causing Cox to fly headfirst into a metal partition in the van, reports the Associated Press. “I can’t move. I’m going to die like this. Please, please, please help me,” Cox said minutes after the crash. As Cox pleaded for help, some officers mocked him and accused him of being drunk and faking his injuries, according to dialogue captured by surveillance and body-worn camera footage. Officers dragged Cox by his feet from the van and placed him in a holding cell before his eventual transfer to a hospital.
“I think I cracked my neck,” Cox said after the van arrived at the detention center. "You didn’t crack it, no, you drank too much ... Sit up,” said Sgt Betsy Segui, one of the five officers charged. Cox was later found to have a fractured neck and was paralyzed. The five New Haven police officers were charged with second-degree reckless endangerment and cruelty, both misdemeanors. The others charged were Oscar Diaz, Ronald Pressley, Jocelyn Lavandier and Luis Rivera. All have been on administrative leave since last summer. “You can make mistakes, but you can’t treat people poorly, period. You cannot treat people the way Mr Cox was treated,” said New Haven’s police chief, Karl Jacobson. The case has drawn outrage from civil rights advocates like the NAACP, along with comparisons to the Freddie Gray case in Baltimore. Gray, who was also Black, died in 2015 after he suffered a spinal injury while handcuffed and shackled in a city police van.