$45,000,000 settlement in civil case for New Haven man paralyzed in police custody

The incident happened just last summer when Cox became paralyzed after falling head first in the back of a police transport van.
Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 10:05 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 10, 2023 at 12:53 PM EDT
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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WFSB) - A settlement was reached today in the civil case Richard Cox v. City of New Haven.

Randy Cox, 36, was left paralyzed when the New Haven officers who arrested him did not properly secure him in the back of a transport van back in June 2022.

Five officers were arrested and charged with reckless endangerment second-degree and cruelty to persons.

Cox was being transported to the police station, handcuffed in a police van when the driver stopped short.

Cox flew head-first into the van’s rear doors and was paralyzed from the chest down.

Today, the parties involved in the civil case agreed upon a settlement of $45 million dollars to resolve all claims against the City of New Haven.

$30 million of the total settlement will be covered by the City’s insurance, and the remainder will be paid by the City.

“I called Miss. Dorene, Randy’s mom this morning and  what I shared with her is that while the settlement can not bring Randy back to his original state,” said New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker. “My hope is that it provides Randy the future medical support and other support he will need.”

The House of Representatives also passed a bill named the Randy Cox Bill that requires by law for seat belts to be worn in police vehicles.

“What happened to Randy Cox was unacceptable. When an individual enters police custody, there is an obligation to treat them with dignity and respect and in a manner that ensures their safety and well-being. That did not happen with Randy: he entered policy custody being able to walk, and he left police custody paralyzed with his life and his health forever altered,” said New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker.

Elicker says the Police Department has instituted a set of reforms, updated its policies and procedures on the transfer of people in custody, and required departmentwide training on duty to intervene.

Elicker said, “all of the police force has been trained in all of these new policies.”

“This historic settlement reflects the commitment of New Haven leadership to fully value Randy Cox’s life and support him through the difficult journey ahead. The city’s mistakes have been well documented. But today is a moment to look to the future, so New Haven residents can have confidence in their city and their police department,” said Cox’s attorneys.

The New Haven Police Commission fired 2 of the officers involved in the Randy Cox case, Officer Jocelyn Lavandier and Officer Luis River, on Wednesday.

A decision on the position of two officers, Sergeant Betsy Segui and Officer Oscar Diaz, was tabled until June 28th.

A fifth officer retired and was not part of these decisions.

“As the largest settlement in a police misconduct case in our nation’s history, this settlement sends a message to the country that we know we must be better than this. The action by the New Haven Board of Police Commissioners to terminate the two officers involved in the arrest that resulted in Randy Cox’s paralysis reflected a commitment to accountability and justice. This settlement makes a strong statement that police departments and their municipalities will be accountable for ensuring that police officers honor the lives of those they are sworn to serve and protect,” added Cox’s attorneys.

The judge on the case will now sign off on the settlement, and Elicker expects the insurance money to be processed quickly while the 15 million on the city side will take several months to finalize.

“We wanted to act proactively so what happened to randy never happens again,” said Elicker.