A Connecticut man who was left partially paralyzed while in police custody last year has reached a $45m settlement with the city of New Haven.
Last June, 36-year-old Randy Cox was arrested on charges of illegal handgun possession and was put into a police transport van without any seatbelts.
According to video footage released by Cox’s family, Cox was being transported to a detention center when the officer driving the van, Oscar Diaz, braked suddenly, causing Cox to slide across the bench and hit his head against the van’s wall.
Cox was left slumped at the back of the van for three minutes before Diaz stopped to check on him. “I can’t move. I’m going to die like this. Please, please, please help me,” said Cox. He was eventually taken to the detention center where police officers ordered him to get up from the floor.
When Cox said that he could not move, an officer replied: “You’re not even trying.” Video footage showed Cox repeatedly slipping out of a wheelchair that officers placed him in, as well as a police officer saying “He is perfectly fine” as Cox lay on the floor of a cell.
Following the incident, Cox filed a $100m federal civil lawsuit against the officers and the city of New Haven, alleging negligence, carelessness and excessive force against the officers involved.
According to the lawsuit, Cox has been left with severe injuries and damages including a cervical spine fracture, permanent paralysis below his neck, permanent muscle atrophy and shortened life expectancy.
The $45m settlement was reached on Friday evening and came two days after the city fired two police officers over their reckless treatment and lack of compassion towards Cox, the Associated Press reported.
“The city’s mistakes have been well documented,” said a statement released by Cox’s attorneys, including prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump.
“But today is a moment to look to the future, so New Haven residents can have confidence in their city and their police department,” the statement added.
Speaking to the AP, one of Cox’s attorneys, Louis Rubano, said that Cox “kind of relived what happened to him throughout the day yesterday, so it was a very emotional day”.
“He’s unwinding now,” Rubano added.
In a news conference on Saturday, Mayor Justin Elicker said: “Randy’s 36 years old, and we hope he has a long life ahead of him with the kind of support and care that he deserves.”
Source: The Guardian