Update: All criminal charges against Randy Cox have been dropped, reports the Guardian, a move that comes four months after the 36-year-old ended up paralyzed from the neck down after hitting his head against the wall of a police van that was taking him to a detention center on illegal handgun possession charges. Officers failed to check on him immediately and allegedly didn't initially believe his claims that he broke his neck. "The decision to drop the charges ... was absolutely the right one, considering how gravely he was injured while in police custody and how obviously these officers had biases against him,” said attorney Ben Crump. A $100 million lawsuit was filed against New Haven, Connecticut, last month; the five officers involved are on paid leave as the state investigates. Our original story from June 29 follows:
A difficult-to-watch video from inside a police van shows Randy Cox, handcuffed but not wearing a seatbelt in the back of the vehicle, go flying into the front of the holding area headfirst when the van makes an abrupt stop. The incident, which took place in New Haven, Conn., on June 19, left Cox paralyzed from the chest down, breathing on a ventilator, and using a feeding tube, his attorneys say, adding that he may never walk again. Cox, 36, had been arrested on gun charges that night, and police claim he was "uncooperative" while being taken into custody, the Washington Post reports. The back of the van into which he was loaded does not have seatbelts. It came to a sudden stop when another car cut it off, nearly causing a collision.
"We literally witness his neck break" in the video, tweeted attorney Ben Crump. Cox repeatedly yelled for help, and more than three minutes later, the van pulled over so an officer could check on Cox, who told the officer he couldn't move and thought he'd broken his neck. The officer said he'd called an ambulance, then continued on for another five or so minutes to the detention center, where Cox was dragged out of the van and into a holding cell while officers allegedly mocked his posture. Finally, 10 to 15 minutes after his arrival at the detention center, paramedics arrived to transport him to a hospital. The five officers involved in his arrest are on administrative leave, including the van driver, CNN reports. The state police are investigating the incident, which has drawn comparisons to the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore in 2015. (Read more Connecticut stories.)