Chief Moves to Fire 4 Cox Case Cops

by Thomas Breen, New Haven Independent, March 21, 2023

Police Chief Karl Jacobson has recommended that four city police officers be fired for their roles in the mishandling of Richard ​“Randy” Cox, roughly nine months after the 36-year-old New Havener suffered paralyzing injuries while in police custody.

Jacobson announced that decision in a Tuesday afternoon press conference held on the third floor of police headquarters at 1 Union Ave. With Asst. Police Chiefs Bertram Ettienne and David Zannelli and newly promoted Lt.-to-Asst. Chief Manmeet Colon at his side, Jacobson said that he has submitted recommendations to the Board of Police Commissioners that Sgt. Betsy Segui and Officers Oscar Diaz, Jocelyn Lavandier, and Luis Rivera be terminated from their employment with the New Haven Police Department (NHPD). He has issued that recommendation after the department’s Internal Affairs (IA) division wrapped up its months-long investigation of the roles that those officers and now-retired Officer Ronald Pressley played in the June 19, 2022, arrest and handling of Cox. Jacobson said that the IA investigation found that all five police officers violated a number of department general orders, including rules of conduct that require city cops to be law-abiding and work with integrity, trustworthiness, courtesy, and respect.

The IA investigation also found Diaz violated department general orders related to his driving of the police van and being on his cellphone, and it found that Segui violated additional orders related to her supervision of the police detention center. …

After Elicker’s City Hall press conference, Cox’s mother, Doreen Coleman, and one of his local attorneys, R.J. Webber, expressed a small sense of relief that — as they have been calling for months — the chief has now recommended that these officers be fired.

“It was something that we were waiting for,” Coleman said.

“While this has taken some time, the important thing is to get it right,” Webber said.
He and Coleman said that Cox remains paralyzed from the shoulders down and away from home at a rehabilitation facility. Coleman said she visits her son just about every day, most recently bringing him his lunch yesterday.

“He’s doing pretty good,” she said. ​“He’s holding on.” She said her son is still ​“processing” the chief’s recommended firings of these officers. ​“He’s in good spirits.”

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