Police board votes to fire 2 New Haven officers involved in arrest that left Randy Cox paralyzed
The vote came after the New Haven police chief recommended termination.
The New Haven Board of Police Commissioners voted on Wednesday to terminate two more police officers charged for their involvement in the arrest of Richard "Randy" Cox – a Black man who was paralyzed while in police custody.
The decision to fire officers Oscar Diaz and Betsy Segui for their alleged conduct during the June 19, 2022, incident took place during a scheduled commission meeting on Wednesday evening.
The vote on whether to terminate Diaz and Segui was originally scheduled for June 7, but was postponed because the officer's attorneys were not available.
"Sergeant Segui fully expected this result," Gregory Cerittelli, the attorney representing Segui, told ABC News in a statement on Wednesday evening. "The city of New Haven, and it’s leadership have no appreciation for the very difficult job these police officers do -- a job that is made increasingly more difficult when the rank-and-file lack support from the city leaders and their own command staff."
"What happened to Mr. Cox is indeed a very unfortunate incident, but it is a much larger issue in the NHPD which involves inadequate equipment and a lack of training," Cerittelli added.
ABC News reached out to the attorneys representing Diaz, but requests for comment were not immediately returned.
ABC News has reached out to the New Haven Police Department and an attorney representing Cox for further comment.
The vote to fire Segui and Diaz came after four out of the six members of the commission voted on June 7 to terminate two other officers who were involved in Cox's arrest – Jocelyn Lavandier and Luis Rivera. Two members of the commission abstained from the vote.
"This is an absolute rush to judgment," Lavandier's attorney Dan Ford told ABC News in a statement on June 8. "At a minimum the City should have waited for the judicial process to play out before terminating Officer Lavandier."
Attorneys for Rivera did not respond to ABC News' requests for comment.
The four officers are among five who were charged on Nov. 28, 2022, for their involvement in the arrest of Cox, who was paralyzed due to injuries he sustained while in custody of the New Haven Police Department. The fifth officer, Ronald Pressley, who was also charged in the incident, had since retired from the police department.
New Haven's state attorney John P. Doyle, Jr. announced on November 28, 2022, that each of the officers were charged with one count of second-degree reckless endangerment and one count of cruelty to persons. Both charges are misdemeanors.
The officers were each released on a $25,000 bond and pleaded not guilty during an arraignment hearing on January 11.
The votes to fire the four officers came after New Haven Police Chief Karl Jacobson recommended their termination in March following an investigation into their conduct in this case.
Jacobson said in March that his recommendation came after an internal investigation and hearings that yielded enough information to pursue termination.
Officers arrested Cox on June 19, 2022, for criminal possession of a firearm and breach of peace. Surveillance video shows the officers placing Cox in the back of a police van without seat belts, leading Cox to be thrown headfirst into the back wall of the van during an abrupt stop.
Video also shows that Cox repeatedly asked for help, saying he couldn't move, but the officers did not immediately render him medical aid and allegedly assumed he was drunk when they arrived at the police station.
The video footage also shows the officers dragging Cox by his feet and throwing him into a wheelchair, which his lawyers said could have exacerbated his already life-threatening injuries.
In June 2022, all five officers were placed on paid administrative leave. In October 2022, all charges against Cox were dropped, according to the New Haven Superior Court clerk's office.
The termination of the officers came after Cox, who filed a $100 million federal lawsuit against New Haven and police, reached a $45 million settlement with the city on June 9.
"What happened to Randy Cox was unacceptable," said New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker in a statement on June 9, announcing the settlement. "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."