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Settlement of $45 million reached in Richard Cox v. City of New Haven case

Cox was paralyzed after being in police custody in the back of a van. Five officers have been charged, two of those officers have been fired.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A joint settlement of $45 million was reached in the civil case of Richard Cox v. City of New Haven on Friday in a New Haven courtroom.  

Of the $45 million, $30 million of the total settlement will be covered by the City’s insurance, and the remainder will be paid by the City.

This settlement stems from an incident in June of 2022 where Randy Cox was left paralyzed while being held in police custody in the back of a police van. 

Officer Oscar Diaz drove the van carrying Cox, which stopped short, causing Cox's body to slam into the back of the van, leaving him paralyzed. Officers Jocelyn Lavandier, Luis Rivera, Ronald Pressley and Sgt. Betsy Segui was involved in handling Cox afterward, and are accused of mocking Cox and dragging him by his feet to a holding cell before he was eventually brought to the hospital.

All five officers pleaded not guilty to reckless endangerment and cruelty misdemeanors in January.

Officers Jocelyn Lavandier and Luis Rivera were fired in a special meeting earlier this week. 

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker released a statement following the settlement: 

“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.

From day one, Police Chief Jacobson and I have promised accountability, transparency and action for Randy, the Cox family and the New Haven community -- and we committed to do everything in our power to ensure an incident like this never happens again.

Since this tragic incident occurred, the New Haven Police Department has instituted a comprehensive set of reforms, updated its policies and procedures on the transfer of people in custody, and required departmentwide training on duty to intervene. The officers involved are being held accountable by the police department and in court.

Further, the actions of these few officers do not reflect the values of the New Haven Police Department and do not represent the high standards that I know the rest of our police officers hold themselves to everyday as they put their lives on the line to protect and serve our residents and keep our community safe.

Today’s settlement agreement is an important and sobering part of this accountability process. While nothing can ever return Randy’s life to the way it was prior to this incident, we trust that this settlement will allow him to receive the support and medical care he needs to move forward. The City of New Haven will continue to do everything we can to assist him in his journey.

I want to thank Randy and his family for their patience as we worked through this process. We remain resolved as a city to collectively work to ensure an incident like this never happens again.”

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Cox's legal defense of Ben Crump, Louis Rubano and R.J. Weber also released a statement applauding the decision: 

“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.

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.”


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