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Family of Randy Cox plans to file federal civil rights lawsuit against New Haven and police officers

Randy Cox Rally
Ryan Caron King
/
Connecticut Public
Attorney Ben Crump leads a chant on the steps of New Haven City Hall in support of Randy Cox, a man who was paralyzed while in New Haven police custody. Cox was recently readmitted to the hospital with an illness. “Think about everything below your chest. And you have no control over anything below your chest. That is his life sentence. But for what?” Crump said during the rally.

Family and friends of Randy Cox rallied in New Haven Thursday and announced they plan to file a federal lawsuit against the city of New Haven and some of its police officers.

Cox is a Black man who was paralyzed while in police custody. He was injured in June in a police van when the officer driving said he braked suddenly to avoid an accident.

The lawsuit is expected to be filed within 10 days. Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney representing the Cox family, addressed those who gathered.

“We try to see, if we can, not just get partial justice but whole justice, whole justice for Randy — whole justice for the community,” he said. "That will mean that the community believes that the policy is going to prevent any more Randy Coxes from happening.”

Randy Cox Rally
Ryan Caron King
/
Connecticut Public
Supporters of Randy Cox hold signs in front of New Haven City Hall after a rally where Cox’s family announced that it plans to file a federal lawsuit against the city and some of its police officers. Cox’s mother, Doreen Coleman, said his family and friends have been taking care of Cox after he was paralyzed while in New Haven police custody.

The Cox family shared that Cox has returned to the hospital after an illness. His sister, LaToya Boomer, said her brother was making good progress, but he got sick a few days ago.

“He got off the breathing machine, completely off the trach [tracheotomy], and got off the feeding tube,” Boomer said. “Now he’s back in the hospital, he’s not feeling well and has a fever that he can’t get rid of. It’s been really hard on him mentally, dealing with this situation.”

The five officers involved in the incident are on paid leave. Family members said officers did not respond to Cox’s pleas for help.

Cox’s mother, Doreen Coleman, said they’re doing everything they can for her son.

“We are doing our best but we need everybody else to do something,” she said. “Pray, sing, say hello, whatever you need to do. We are gonna get justice. We don’t care how long it’s gonna take. I really don’t have nothing else to do, but I’m here for my son.”

Randy Cox Rally
Ryan Caron King/Connecticut Public
/
Connecticut Public
New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker and Police Chief Karl Jacobson speak to the press inside city hall after the rally. “We are committed to doing the right thing, and very much trying to follow our hearts and the law when we’re doing so,” Elicker said.

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker and police Chief Karl Jacobson spent some time talking with the Cox family after the rally. Elicker said the city is committed to doing the right thing.

“I think we’re all anxious to see this process go as quickly as possible, but we also have to be thoughtful and deliberate when we’re going through this process,” he said.

After the state police’s investigation, the New Haven Police Department may take action that could involve criminal charges against the officers.

Catherine Shen is a Connecticut Public’s education reporter. The Los Angeles native comes to CT Public after a decade of print and digital reporting across the country.

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