2 officers put on leave after man injured in police van

Jun 22, 2022, 8:11 AM | Updated: 3:18 pm

Two officers in Connecticut 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 a hospital with signs of paralysis, authorities said.

New Haven Assistant Police Chief Karl Jacobson said at a news conference Tuesday evening that Officer Oscar Diaz did not follow a department policy that requires officers to call for medical assistance and wait for paramedics when someone is in distress in a police vehicle. He said Diaz braked hard to avoid an accident, injuring Richard Cox.

“This is a horrible thing that happened to this young man, and we’re going to do everything possible so it doesn’t happen again,” Jacobson said.

City police on Tuesday also released videos of their handling of Cox and said state police were called in to investigate.

Cox, 36, of New Haven, was arrested on a gun charge Sunday. He was being treated at a hospital and there was a chance he could be permanently paralyzed, Mayor Justin Elicker said.

On Wednesday, the president of the Connecticut chapter of the NAACP, Scot X. Esdaile, said he will be asking federal authorities to investigate how New Haven police officers treated Cox.

“They need to be held accountable for this man being paralyzed,” Esdaile told The Associated Press.

Esdaile said the situation reminded him of the Freddie Gray case in Baltimore. Gray, a 25-year-old Black man, died in 2015 after he suffered a spinal injury while handcuffed and shackled in a Baltimore police van.

Cox, who is Black, also was handcuffed when he was in the back of the New Haven police van, and there were no seat belts. He flew headfirst into a wall when Diaz braked hard to avoid an accident, police said. A camera recorded the moments when Cox was injured.

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

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, took him out of the wheelchair and dragged him into a cell, where he was left on the floor, video shows.

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

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

“Once the handcuffs go on, you’re then in the care of the New Haven Police Department and there’s an obligation to treat every individual in a manner that ensures their safety and well-being,” he said. “Some of the actions taken by the officers, in my personal judgment, fall short of that.”

Diaz and Sgt. Betsy Segui, who works in the department’s detention area, were placed on paid leave pending an investigation. Three other officers have been transferred out of the detention area, officials said. Officers are heard on videos telling Cox at various points to stand up or move, but he could not.

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

Lawyers Lou Rubano and R.J. Weber III said in a statement that they are representing Cox and questioned police officers’ handling of 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.

In the Freddie Gray case, six officers were charged. Three were acquitted and Baltimore’s state attorney dropped the other cases. The Justice Department declined to bring federal charges.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., listens to a question during a news conference, March 30, 2022, in W...

Associated Press

Tuberville is ending blockade of most military nominees, clearing way for hundreds to be approved

Sen. Tommy Tuberville announced Tuesday that he's ending his blockade of hundreds of military promotions, following heavy criticism.

20 hours ago

An employee works inside the Hanwha Qcells Solar plant on Oct. 16, 2023, in Dalton, Ga. On Tuesday,...

Associated Press

US job openings fall to lowest level since March 2021 as labor market cools

U.S. employers posted 8.7 million job openings in October, the fewest since March 2021, in a sign that hiring is cooling.

21 hours ago

Megyn Kelly poses at The Hollywood Reporter's 25th annual Women in Entertainment Breakfast, Dec. 7,...

Associated Press

The fourth GOP debate will be a key moment for the young NewsNation cable network

By airing the fourth Republican presidential debate, NewsNation network will almost certainly reach the largest audience in its history.

22 hours ago

Lead water pipes pulled from underneath the street are seen in Newark, N.J., Oct. 21, 2021. (AP Pho...

Associated Press

Biden to require cities to replace harmful lead pipes within 10 years

The Biden administration has previously said it wants all of the nation's roughly 9 million lead pipes to be removed, and rapidly.

6 days ago

Facebook's Meta logo sign is seen at the company headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on, Oct. 28, 2...

Associated Press

Meta shuts down thousands of fake Facebook accounts that were primed to polarize voters ahead of 2024

Meta said it removed 4789 Facebook accounts in China that targeted the United States before next year’s election.

6 days ago

A demonstrator in Tel Aviv holds a sign calling for a cease-fire in the Hamas-Israel war on Nov. 21...

Associated Press

Hamas releases a third group of hostages as part of truce, and says it will seek to extend the deal

The fragile cease-fire between Israel and Hamas was back on track Sunday as the first American was released under a four-day truce.

11 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Dierdre Woodruff

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.


Midwestern University

Midwestern University: innovating Arizona health care education

Midwestern University’s Glendale Campus near Loop 101 and 59th Avenue is an established leader in health care education and one of Arizona’s largest and most valuable health care resources.



Importance of AC maintenance after Arizona’s excruciating heat wave

An air conditioning unit in Phoenix is vital to living a comfortable life inside, away from triple-digit heat.

2 officers put on leave after man injured in police van