2 police officers furloughed after man was injured in police van


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) – Two Connecticut officers have been placed on paid leave after a man was seriously injured in the back of a police van and dragged around the police station before being taken to hospital with signs of paralysis, authorities said.

New Haven Police Deputy Chief Karl Jacobson told a press conference Tuesday night that Officer Oscar Diaz did not follow a department policy that requires officers to call for medical assistance and waiting for paramedics when someone is in distress in a police vehicle.

“It’s a horrible thing that happened to this young man, and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Jacobson said.

On Tuesday, city police also released videos of their treatment of Richard Cox and said state police had been called to investigate.

Cox, 36, of New Haven, was arrested on Sunday for a firearm. He was being treated in a hospital and there was a chance he was permanently paralyzed, Mayor Justin Elicker said.

While handcuffed to the back of the van, Cox flew headfirst into a wall when Diaz braked hard to avoid a crash, police said. A camera recorded the times Cox was injured. There was no seat belts at the back of the van.

Diaz then resumed driving to the police department despite Cox calling for help and saying he was injured and couldn’t move, according to video and officials. A few minutes later, Diaz stopped the van to check on Cox, who was lying motionless on the ground.

Diaz then called paramedics but told them to meet him at the station instead of waiting for them, Jacobson said.

At the station, officers dragged Cox out of the van by his feet and put him in a wheelchair, video shows. Police then booked Cox, pulled him out of the wheelchair and dragged him to a cell, where he was left on the floor, video shows.

Paramedics arrived minutes later and took Cox to the hospital, officials said.

Elicker said Tuesday night that he found the officers’ action and inaction “quite concerning.”

“Once the handcuffs are removed, you are then in the custody of the New Haven Police Department and there is an obligation to treat each individual in a manner that ensures their safety and well-being,” he said. declared. “Some of the actions taken by officers, in my personal opinion, fall short of that.”

Diaz and Sgt. Betsy Segui, who works in the department’s detention area, was placed on paid leave pending an investigation. Three other officers were moved out of the detention area, officials said. Officers are heard on videos telling Cox at various times to get up or move, but he couldn’t.

Messages seeking comment have been sent to Diaz, Segui and the local police union.

Lawyers Lou Rubano and RJ Weber III said in a statement that they represent Cox and questioned how officers were treating him.

“We are praying for Mr. Cox’s well-being. He has a long and painful recovery ahead of him. His family is united and by his side,” they said.