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'He'd rather be walking': Sister of Randy Cox reacts to $45 million settlement with New Haven

In July, 2022, as hundreds gathered to march through New Haven for Randy Cox, LaToya Boomer (right), used a video call to show her brother Randy the crowd gathered in his name.
Mark Mirko
/
Connecticut Public
In July, 2022, as hundreds gathered to march through New Haven for Randy Cox, LaToya Boomer (right), used a video call to show her brother Randy the crowd gathered in his name.

Randy Cox, the New Haven man who was permanently paralyzed after riding unsecured in a police van, has reached a historic $45 million settlement with the city. It’s the largest police misconduct settlement in U.S. history.

But LaToya Boomer, Cox’s sister, is not celebrating. She said the money came at a high price.

“He’d rather be walking than to have the money. He’s still dealing with it, he feels like everyone keeps saying congratulations, as if it's over, but it's not over for him,” Boomer said.

Boomer, who lives in nearby East Haven, expressed appreciation for the settlement and said the money would be used for her brother’s medical treatment.

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said the city would work to ensure something like this would never happen again. Elicker said the settlement represented the city’s efforts to hold itself accountable.

The negotiations, he said, were centered on how much was considered appropriate for Cox’s required level of care. Elicker said the city also wanted to make a statement with the high settlement figure.

“We all came to an agreement at the end of the day that all parties were comfortable with," Elicker said.

Boomer expressed ambivalence over the settlement amount.

“I personally think it should have been more," she said. "But as long as it gets him the medical care that he requires, and housing and vehicle and all that, then I'm okay with it".

Boomer said she didn’t know the details of the back-and-forth negotiations with Cox’s attorneys and the city. But she said they did meet with Cox. She said her brother is doing OK. He can move his arm to place his fingers on his phone. But he can’t move his wrists or his fingers.

Cox’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, issued a statement on Friday. Crump said the settlement reflected the city’s commitment to fully value Randy Cox’s life.

The president of the Greater New Haven NAACP, Dori Dumas, said the lawsuit and settlement were accountability for the initial incident. Dumas said the New Haven Police Department is working on mitigating its behavior with residents.

She said it’s not an overnight fix and her organization will continue to demand change within the police department.

“They have made some improvements. And yes, there's still a lot of room for more improvements. But I feel like they're open to it. And even if they're not, we're gonna hold them accountable to it. That's the work of the NAACP,” Dumas said.

City residents also reacted to the settlement.

Twin siblings, Dara Miller and her brother, Gary Miller, 24, said the incident sparked discussions within their own family. They live in New Haven, and some of their family members, they said, are in law enforcement.

They said their family members were also upset about the incident. However, they also understood they had to represent their professions as police officers.

But Dara Miller said what happened to Cox was simply wrong.

“I don't know if we could really look at both sides when it comes down to it, a person, a human being, being paralyzed. There was no right for them to do that,” Miller said.

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