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Connecticut man paralyzed after arrest sues New Haven police

Randy Cox, 36, seeks $100 million in a federal action stemming from a June 19 incident.

A Black man who was left paralyzed after his arrest in Connecticut has sued New Haven police for $100 million, saying he was "violently thrown around" a transport van.

Randy Cox, 36, suffers from "paralysis below his neck" after the June 19 arrest on a gun charge, his lawyers said in a complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport.

Cox had been arrested on a gun charge, handcuffed and placed in the back of a transport van. The police driver hit the brakes during the trip, officials said, to avoid an accident.

"While seated in the back of the transport van, Cox was handcuffed and had no adequate body or safety restraints for his use," the lawsuit says.

“Cox had no warning of the impending and sudden stop resulting in his body being violently thrown around the inside of the transport van resulting in serious and permanent injuries.”

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump at a march for Justice for Randy Cox in New Haven, Conn., on July 8.
Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump at a march for Justice for Randy Cox in New Haven, Conn., on July 8. Arnold Gold / AP file

The lawsuit also claims officers were slow to get Cox medical help.

Cox will have a lifetime of costly health challenges, according to his lawyer Benjamin Crump. The day the federal action was filed, Cox had to return to the hospital because of bed sores.

"This is going to be a regular thing forever," Crump told reporters Tuesday.

Randy Cox is pulled from the back of a police van and placed in a wheelchair after having been detained by New Haven police on June 19.
Randy Cox is pulled from the back of a police van and placed in a wheelchair after having been detained by New Haven police on June 19. New Haven Police via AP

Crump and city officials said they hope the case can be resolved before it reaches a jury.

“And the city has a right to say to this mother, 'We’re not going to put you through all of that,'" Crump added.

Mayor Justin Elicker and other city officials attended Crump's meeting with reporters and said they, too, hope the suit can be resolved before trial.

"We need to make sure that we see this process through and do it deliberately and appropriately," he said.

New Haven Corporation Counsel Pat King also said a deal could be reached: "There will become a time, probably, when settlement will be discussed."

Cox also has a lifetime of mental health challenges ahead of him, in addition to physical obstacles, his attorneys said.

"He often wakes up in the middle of dream, a dream he's having where he's running or walking," said another member of his legal team, Louis Rubano. "He wakes up realizing that he's paralyzed."

In addition to the city of New Haven, five police officers are named as defendants.

A representative of the union representing officers could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.

Cox's injuries have been compared to those in the 2015 case of Freddie Gray, who died after a ride in a Baltimore police van. His death led to civil unrest.