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Randy Cox video of New Haven police arrest

Source: New Haven Police Department

A Black man who was criminally charged after he was left paralyzed following a “rough ride” in a police van in Connecticut has had all charges against him dropped in a case that bears an eerie similarity to Freddie Gray in Baltimore.

Randy Cox, who was arrested in New Haven in June for allegedly carrying a firearm without a permit, criminal possession of a firearm, threatening and two misdemeanors, had the charges dropped on Wednesday, civil rights attorney Ben Crump announced.

There was no explanation from the State Judicial System, which made the decision. However, it’s likely the video footage from the arrest and showing the inside of the police van while Cox rode played a role in the charges being dropped. Crump, who first posted the video on social media back in June, suggested Cox’s injuries were sustained as a result of apparent implicit bias on the part of the arresting officers.

“When watching the video of the incident that left Randy Cox paralyzed from the chest down, anyone can discern that these officers had preconceived notions about Randy and his character. The officers did not believe Randy when he said he couldn’t move after being thrown against the wall of a van, and accused him of drinking too much,” Crump said in a statement emailed to NewsOne.

Crump demanded the officers be held accountable for their roles contributing to Cox’s state of paralysis.

“The New Haven Police Department handled this incident horrifically from start to finish and now they must answer for their conduct. The decision to drop the charges against Randy was absolutely the right one, considering how gravely he was injured while in police custody and how obviously these officers had biases against him.”

The arrest happened on Juneteenth, of all dates, while Cox was being transported in a van that had no seatbelts. When the officer driving the vehicle stopped abruptly to avoid a crash, it caused Cox to slide head-first into the van’s back wall. Instead of stopping immediately to render aid to the injured man, the officer reportedly kept driving for several minutes while Cox begged him to stop. Eventually, the driver, identified as officer Oscar Diaz, did pull over and call for an ambulance.

Devin Avshalom-Smith, a member of the New Haven Board of Alders and friend of Cox and his family, told local news outlet Fox 61 what a lot of us who have seen how reckless cops can be with Black bodies were likely thinking: “I felt that Randy’s humanity wasn’t recognized and that he was treated in a fashion that was subhuman.”

Peter Reichard, a former assistant police chief in New Haven, suggested that Diaz was texting while he was driving the van.

“The officer’s actions were inappropriate from you know driving the prisoner conveyance van with a cell phone in your hand texting people just not paying attention to the road,” Reichard said.

A former police chief in Connecticut wondered why officers chose to drag Cox off the van instead of waiting for the ambulance.

“There is a tendency sometimes for police officers to become impatient with individuals who are under arrest because sometimes they are not cooperative,” the former chief of the Fairfield Police Department Gary MacNamara said.

During a press conference in June, Crump compared Cox’s case to that of Freddie Gray, the Black man who suffered a deadly injury while being transported in a Baltimore police vehicle.

“This is Freddie Gray on video,” Crump said at the time, emphasizing how there was no video footage from Gray’s case.

The police treatment has been referred to as “a rough ride” as a way to punish suspects while in custody but still avoiding accountability for injuries.

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