US officers charged after black man paralyzed in van

November 29, 2022
The 19 June arrest was caught on police body camera
The 19 June arrest was caught on police body camera

NEW HAVEN — Five police officers in the US state of Connecticut have been charged after a man they arrested was partially paralyzed in the back of a police van.

Randy Cox was being driven to a police station in New Haven when the driver braked hard, causing him to be flung headfirst against the van's rear doors.

He was being held on 19 June on gun charges that were later dropped.

Civil rights advocates compared the 36-year-old's ordeal with the case of another black man in Baltimore in 2015.

Freddie Gray died after suffering a spinal injury while handcuffed and shackled in a police van.

The five officers in the Connecticut case were charged on Monday with reckless endangerment and cruelty, which are misdemeanor - or minor - counts.

Officers say the police van braked suddenly to avoid a collision at an intersection. Police body camera footage shows the driver stopping suddenly and repeatedly honking the horn.

The video also shows some officers mocking Cox and accusing him of faking his injuries. In the clip, officers drag Cox by his feet to place him in a holding cell. He was then transported to hospital.

After reviewing the footage, state police determined the five officers had engaged in reckless conduct leaving Cox immobile and deprived of proper physical care.

All five officers have since been placed on administrative leave.

The incident left Cox paralyzed from the chest down, his family's attorney said.

Announcing the charges on Monday, New Haven's police chief Karl Jacobson said it was important for his department to be transparent.

"You can make mistakes, but you can't treat people poorly, period," he said.

"You cannot treat people the way Cox was treated."

Cox's sister, Latoya Boomer, told the BBC's US partner CBS News: "It made me sick to my stomach, to treat somebody like that."

His family filed a federal lawsuit against the city of New Haven and the five officers in September, alleging negligence. — BBC

November 29, 2022
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