New Haven mayor promises justice for Randy Cox who was paralyzed in police custody

Randy Cox was severely injured in the back of a police van.

November 4, 2022, 3:50 PM

The mayor of New Haven, Connecticut, said Friday he’s committed to getting justice for 36-year-old Randy Cox, the man who was paralyzed from the chest down under the New Haven Police Department's care.

"Our understanding from the state’s attorney is that we’ll have an answer in several weeks and ... he’s not yet ready to make a decision on the actions his office will take regarding the officers,” Mayor Justin Elicker told reporters.

The officers who were involved in the incident are currently on leave, Elicker said.

Elicker said he wants to expedite the process and come to a settlement with Cox but asked that the family be patient with the process.

"The city can’t just unilaterally decide something," Elicker said. "There’s a process that we need to follow ... we all want justice for Randy."

Cox’s family hosted a press conference Friday alongside attorney Ben Crump and other Black leaders, urging the city to act swiftly and pay for Cox's medical bills.

"It’s been 137 days since the incident occurred,” Scott Esdaile of the Connecticut NACCP said. "This is not just a local issue, this is a national issue."

Ben Crump and Doreen Coleman, the mother of Randy Cox, are shown at a press conference announcing the lawsuit, on Sept. 27, 2022, in New Haven, Conn.

Crump, who is representing the Cox family, called out city leadership for the delay in the case.

"We don't want to hear your promises anymore. Are you going to help Randy or are you not?" Crump said. "Miss Doreen [Cox's mother] gets up every day and gets on public transportation to go to the hospital to help take care of her baby."

He went on, "The city that caused her son to be in this situation keeps making broking promises ... you go to act now."

Cox was arrested on June 19 for the unlawful possession of a firearm.

In September he filed a federal lawsuit against the city of New Haven and New Haven Police Department officers for $100 million. According to the lawsuit, Cox was placed in the back of a police van without a seat belt and was handcuffed.

When Officer Oscar Diaz abruptly hit the brakes, Cox was thrown across the back of the van and could not move his body, according to the lawsuit. The incident left Cox paralyzed from the chest down, according to the lawsuit. The entire encounter was caught on video.

The charges against Cox were dropped in October, according to the deputy chief clerk for the New Haven superior court.

The U.S. Justice Department said it was closely watching the investigation into the circumstances that left Cox paralyzed.

"All suspects taken into police custody must be afforded timely and appropriate medical care in the event of an emergency," U.S. Attorney Vanessa Roberts Avery said in July. "If federal action is warranted, the Justice Department will pursue every available avenue to the full extent of the law."

Cox is still paralyzed and remains hospitalized, according to Crump.

"Nothing can justify what we saw on that tape," he said.

ABC News' Kendall Ross contributed to this report.