The family of a Black man in Connecticut is seeking civil rights charges against officers involved in a police van accident that left him paralyzed, AP News reports.
During a transport to a police station in New Haven on June 19, Randy Cox flew headfirst into the wall of a police van after the driver slammed on brakes to avoid a collision. At this time, the 36-year-old’s family says that Cox remains paralyzed from the chest down.
According to Cox’s mother, two sisters, and civil rights attorney Ben Crump, his constitutional rights were violated at the time of the incident.
“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?” said Crump.
A video released following the accident showed officers dragging Cox by his feet from the van before placing him in a holding cell at the police department. He was not immediately taken to a hospital despite his injuries.
At this time, Cox is still hospitalized and currently unable to speak due to a breathing tube.
Following Cox’s case, the city announced several police reform policies including the elimination of police vans for most prisoner transports. Instead, they are to use marked police vehicles. It is now also a requirement for officers to immediately call for an ambulance if the prisoner appears to need medical aid or requests one.
Cox’s family says the policy should not be necessary in the first place.
“Why do you need a policy that says if someone needs help for you to give them help?” said Latoya Boomer, Cox’s sister. “That should never have to be a policy. That should be in your own brain already.”