New Haven Police Commission votes to fire 2 officers charged in Randy Cox case
The New Haven Board of Police Commissioners voted Wednesday to fire two of the four police officers criminally charged in the Randy Cox case.
Four of six commissioners voted to terminate the employment of officers Jocelyn Lavandier and Luis Rivera. Two other commissioners abstained on firing the officers.
A message seeking comment was left with a lawyer for Lavandier and Rivera.
Cox was left paralyzed in June 2022 during an arrest on gun charges that were later dropped. He was handcuffed and placed in a police van without being secured with a seatbelt. The van came to an abrupt stop, which caused Cox to hit his head on the van door. It resulted in a broken neck.
Lavandier was one of the officers who was seen on police body camera footage transporting Cox from the police van to a jail cell after he was injured. He was not offered immediate medical attention. Cox can be heard saying his neck was broken and said he could not move after officers were seen on the footage mocking his injury claims.
Cox is now permanently paralyzed from the chest down, family members said. He is being represented by civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who is suing the officers and city of New Haven in federal court for $100 million.
"We appreciate the New Haven Police Commission's decision to hold these officers accountable for their actions – behavior that caused Randy's devastating and overwhelming injuries," Crump said, in a statement.
“It is our hope that both the city and the Police Department recognize the significant role their actions and inaction played in creating Randy's permanent condition," Crump said. "While this decision is a step in the right direction, it is important to stress that full justice in this case will be achieved only when there are criminal convictions, civil accountability, and changes in the law."
In a statement released Wednesday night, New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said, “what happened to Randy Cox was unacceptable and the Board of Police Commissioners’ vote to accept Chief Jacobson’s recommendations to terminate these officers was the right one."
Police Chief Karl Jacobson recommended to police commissioners in March that Lavandier, Rivera, officer Oscar Diaz and Sgt. Betsy Segui be fired.
Their lawyers have said they should not be fired. Gregory Cerritelli, who represents Segui, has called them “scapegoats” for the department’s “inadequate training and policies.”
The police commission is scheduled to vote on the termination of Segui and Diaz later this month. A fifth officer, Ronald Pressley, retired.
The officers have pleaded not guilty to reckless endangerment and cruelty to persons charges.
The Associated Press contributred to this report. This story has been updated.