The family of the man who was left paralyzed after a police van ride is seeking to bring civil rights charges against the Connecticut officers involved in the botched arrest.
Randy Cox, 36, was severely injured after riding in a police van with no seatbelts that braked suddenly while he was handcuffed inside. Cox was being transported to a police station in New Haven on June 19 to face a weapons charge when the van stopped abruptly and hurled him headfirst into the wall of the van, AP reports.
His family says he remains paralyzed from the chest down since the incident. On Friday, Cox’s mother and two sisters joined with civil rights attorney Ben Crump to meet with U.S. Department of Justice officials and demand a federal civil rights investigation.
Cox’s sister LaQuavius LeGrant blasted the police’s handling of the case, including how the family was informed about it.
“They didn’t say anything until 20 hours after the fact, he was already here, he already had the surgery, already in the recovery in the ICU,” LeGrant said.
“You ask yourself, was it cruel and unusual punishment to put him in the back of that police transportation van with no seat belt, knowing that if you’re speeding, if you slam on the brakes, that somebody is going to be seriously injured?” Crump said.
U.S. Attorney Vanessa Roberts Avery said they are “closely monitoring the ongoing investigations into the circumstances,” CNN reports.
Attorneys for the family say the police who were responsible for transporting Cox to a detention facility were in “clear violation of the 4th, 8th and 14th Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution, the Hartford Courant reports.
Video footage captured the officers’ cold response to Cox’s repeated cries for help after colliding in the van. Since the incident, city officials announced the end of using vans like the one Cox was in, and that police will now use marked police vehicles instead.
Mayor Justin Elicker also announced that police will have to immediately call for an ambulance if a prisoner appears to need medical attention or requests it. Prisoners will also be required to wear seat belts in any transport vehicle, among other changes officials announced in wake of Cox’s arrest.