‘This Time It Must Be Different’: Hundreds March Through New Haven and Yale After Black Man Is Paralyzed in NHPD Custody
Yash Roy, Yale Daily News, Jul 11, 2022
A June 19th arrest resulted in the serious injury and paralysis of Randy Cox, a 36-year-old Newhallville resident. Hundreds marched through downtown New Haven Friday evening [July 8] to demand structural changes to New Haven Police Department policy and criminal charges against police officers after a Black man was paralyzed in their custody.
Randy Cox, a 36-year-old Newhallville resident, was attending a block party on June 19 when he was arrested for illegal possession of a firearm. He was injured while being transported by New Haven police officers after they put him in the back of an NHPD transport vehicle that did not have seatbelts and abruptly stopped the car to avoid an accident. Cox remains paralyzed from the chest down and cannot speak, according to his family.
“I want justice for my son,” Doreen Coleman, Cox’s mother, told the News at the protest. “I want the cops to be held to account, whether that be their dismissal or criminal charges. My baby can’t speak, he has a tube in his mouth and he can’t walk.”
The rally was organized by the state NAACP chapter and Cox’s family, who demanded that officers involved be criminally prosecuted. Ben Crump, who was a lawyer for George Floyd’s family, is the Cox family’s lead attorney.
Cox was paralyzed after NHPD officers put him into the back of a police van without a seatbelt. According to body cam footage released by NHPD and posted online by the New Haven Independent, transport officer Oscar Diaz abruptly stopped the vehicle and Cox was thrown to the front of the holding area in the back of the van.
Cox called out, saying he was hurt and banged on the dividing wall. The officer checked on him almost four minutes later, called an ambulance and then continued driving to central holding, in contravention of NHPD policy, which requires officers to stay put after calling for medical assistance for a detainee.
At holding, after Cox told the officers he could not move, he was forcibly carried to a holding cell. At one point in body cam footage, Cox says he can’t move and is told by another officer that “you weren’t even trying.” One officer suggested that Cox could not move because he “drank too much,” according to body cam footage.