Prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump said he will lead the charge in the legal battle against Randy Cox, a black man who was critically injured while being transported in the back of a Connecticut police truck when the driver suddenly stopped.
On Tuesday, the attorney joined Mr. Cox’s family at a news conference in New Haven Supreme Court, along with the team’s co-counsel, Jack O’Donnell and Louis Rubano, and civil rights advocates in the city.
On June 19, Mr. Cox, 36, was arrested at a neighborhood party after a witness was called to report that he was suspected of carrying a gun. New Haven police handcuffed, without incident, on suspicion of possession of an illegal firearm, and he was placed in the back of a police car without his back secured with a seat belt.
Video footage shows the transport vehicle coming to a sudden stop at one point, causing Mr Cox to fly head first into the solid wall, with his hands unable to break his fall and in any way absorb the shock as they are tied behind his back.
In follow-up video footage, officers can be seen opening the back of the truck door and seeing the 36-year-old splayed on the ground, his head down. The injured man can be heard screaming that he thinks he broke his neck, while officers in the video can be heard publicly mocking him and later dragging him by his feet from the car into his cell, all before seeking medical attention.
talking on Fox 26 HoustonThe civil rights attorney told the news outlet that the horrific treatment Mr Cox received belonged to Freddie Gray, who was arrested by Baltimore police in 2015 for illegal knife possession and died in hospital just days after sustaining injuries while in custody. Transported in the back of a police truck.
The medical examiner’s office ruled the 25-year-old black man’s death guilty of murder, concluding that his fatal injuries could not be judged an accident because officers failed to secure the man in the back of the patrol car, which violated oath. protocol.
“When you look at the video, you immediately say, ‘That’s Freddy Gray in the video.’ We get to see him. It’s a shocking video,” Crump told Fox 26 News. “So the police won’t believe him when he says, ‘I think my neck is broken,'” They make fun of him and throw him like a cloth doll… It’s very hard to watch.”
Paramedics arrived later after laying the man’s collapsed body on the floor of his holding cell and taking him to hospital, where his older sister, Lacovius Legrant, 39, told ABC News he was still in the intensive care unit. He is currently paralyzed, living through a ventilator and feeding tube, and doctors have told the family that he is unlikely to be able to walk again.
“It’s so heartbreaking to go into that hospital room, the intensive care unit, to look him in the eye – his eyes are wide open – and he can’t do anything about it,” she said. “What happened is unacceptable and unforgivable.”
The five officers involved in the incident have been assigned an administrative duty, according to New Haven police, and that has prompted a government investigation, although Mr Crump wants to push that as a federal civil rights investigation.
Likewise, co-counsel Mr. O’Donnell indicated that the team is preparing to file a federal lawsuit within the next 60 days, after completing a review of more than two hours of video footage covered in the incident, including the moment Mr Cox was injured. semi-lethal.
“I’m here because when I looked at this video, my conscience was shocked,” Mr. Crump said during the press conference. “And I think when you all watch this video, it will shock your conscience. The only question is, why, when the police look at Randy Cox and he’s saying, ‘I can’t move,’ why doesn’t it shock their conscience?”
In videos that have been made public, officers can also be heard harassing Mr Cox about whether he had been injured from “too much” drinking.
“He drank too much,” you can hear one of the officers say, and later began urging Mr. Cox by asking him, “How much did you drink?” and “Have you taken any drugs or alcohol?”
The Connecticut president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) said he doesn’t think the fast braking narrative holds up, claiming the stop was intentional on behalf of the driver.
“People from my community have been coming to us for years talking about how people are tortured in the back of rice wagons,” Scott Esdaeli said, according to the Associated Press. “They put people in the back of the rice cart; they go very fast and then they apply the brakes.”
Likewise, Mr Crump has raised allegations that the driver may be more guilty than the force would allow, saying he suspected that speeding or texting while driving could be a factor, thus calling for the police department to be transparent in the investigation.
independent I reached out to the New Haven Police Department for comment on the investigation.
Writing on Twitter over the Fourth of July holiday, Mr. Crump highlighted how Mr Cox – a healthy young man – has gone from being able to climb into the back of a police car on his own to now needing full support to breathe and eat with little. I hope he can walk again.
“This is heartbreaking,” Mr. Crump wrote. “The sudden stop resulted in Randy Cox breaking his neck in a truck that was not equipped with seat belts.”
“Since New Haven Police officers ignored his pleas for help, he has gone from a healthy man to a paralyzed man now. This is unacceptable!!”