Yash Roy, Contributing Photographer

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker announced on Monday that arrest warrants for reckless endangerment in the second degree and cruelty to persons were issued against New Haven Police Department Officers Oscar Diaz, Ronald Pressley, Jocelyn Lavandier and Luis Rivera, and Sergeant Betsy Segui for their treatment of Randy Cox on June 19.

All five cops had turned themselves in to state police in Westbrook earlier today. Each officer has since posted a $25,000 bond and has been released on the expectation that they appear for their first court hearing on Dec. 8 in New Haven. 

Both charges are class B misdemeanors carrying no more than 6 months of imprisonment each.

“Based on today’s arrests, it’s clear that the state’s attorney believes that there’s probable cause that the actions of these officers violated state criminal laws,” Elicker said at the press conference. “I’m glad to see the process move forward to ensure that justice is served.”

Elicker and police chief Karl Jacobson both said that they respect the decision by state attorney Jack Doyle to charge the officers. 

Monday’s announcement after a five-month investigation by state police and attorney’s office into the conduct of the five officers involved. The state police concluded their investigation in early October and the case has since then been left in Doyle’s hands.

Cox was paralyzed after being arrested on June 19 by NHPD. Officer Diaz placed Cox into the back of an NHPD transport vehicle that did not have seatbelts and proceeded to drive through the city at 11 miles over the speed limit. After the van made a hard stop in front of Yale’s Schwarzman Center, Cox can be heard on NHPD footage saying his neck is broken and he can not move. 

Diaz then called for medical support. Instead of waiting for paramedics to arrive at the scene, Diaz violated NHPD policy by continuing to drive towards central booking at NHPD headquarters on 1 Union Ave.  

The four other officers implicated were at NHPD headquarters and were involved in the decision to forcibly remove Cox from the transport vehicle and put him in a holding cell. 

“We’re pleased to see the State’s Attorney’s Office and the criminal justice system at work,” Cox’s attorney R.J. Weber told reporters after the city’s press conference. “What’s happened here today is never going to change the fact that Randy Cox is paralyzed from the neck down and that his life since June 19, since Juneteenth of 2022, has been irreparably altered.”

When asked if he thought that the charges were appropriate, Weber said that he respected the State’s Attorney’s decision and that it was not for him to say what charges should be.  

Immediately after the incident, the city and NHPD turned over the investigation to the state police. Now that the state police investigation has concluded and charges have been filed, an NHPD internal affairs investigation will resume. 

The investigation could end in the termination of employment for the five cops in NHPD,  but the final outcome remains unclear. Jacobson told the News that his department will work to expeditiously carry out its investigation.

He will then present the finding to the city’s board of police commissioners to determine final action. Jacobson must present any disciplinary action that exceeds a 15-day suspension to the board for approval. 

“You’re never happy when a police officer is arrested,” Jacobson told the News. “But the bottom line is to be transparent and accountable. And I believe that this is part of the process and we need to move forward with our investigation. You cannot treat people the way Mr. Cox was treated. And we’ve said that since the beginning.”

The criminal side of the Randy Cox case is unfolding simultaneously with the $100 million dollar civil lawsuit. Last Monday, the city and all five officers filed their answers and affirmative defenses to the Cox lawsuit.

The city has claimed government immunity, qualified immunity, and contributory negligence on the part of Randy Cox in its defense. Three of the cops – Pressley, Diaz, and Segui – have also claimed qualified immunity and contributory negligence on the part of Randy Cox. One of the officers involved, Lavandier, has asked for the case to be dismissed against her on procedural grounds.  

This is a breaking news story that will be updated. 

YASH ROY
Yash Roy covers City Hall and State Politics for the News. He is also a Production & Design editor, and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion chair for the News. Originally from Princeton, New Jersey, he is a sophomore in Timothy Dwight College majoring in Global Affairs.