Yash Roy, Contributing Photographer
New Haven Chief of Police Karl Jacobson is recommending to the Board of Police Commissioners that the four officers still employed by the department who were involved in the June 19 incident which left Randy Cox a quadriplegic should be fired.
The New Haven Board of Police Commissioners will now hear the case in late April and make a final recommendation on the employment of the officers still employed by the department: Officers Oscar Diaz, Jocelyn Lavandier and Luis Rivera and Sergeant Betsy Segui.
Ronald Pressley, the fifth officer involved in the incident, had retired voluntarily from the force before the recommendation was made.
At 1 p.m. on March 21, Jacobson announced at a press conference at police headquarters that the New Haven Police Department’s internal affairs investigation concluded that the officers were in violation of several departmental general orders on March 6. The four officers still employed by the department remain on administrative paid leave.
“I think the community has asked us to be transparent and swift,” Jacobson said while announcing his decision. “We have put a lot of thought and investigation into this decision. We want to make sure that everything is done right and so that through this hearing justice can be done.”
NAACP Connecticut President Scot X. Esdaile, who has helped represent the Cox family, told the News that the recommendation is a “move in the right direction,” but he also questioned why it took nine months for the recommendation to be made.
“When the Tyre Nichols investigation was expedited it took twenty days,” Esdaile told the News. “This recommendation has taken nine months. Our ancestors taught us that justice delayed is justice denied, and we hope and pray that the New Haven Board of Police Commissioners does the right thing and makes sure that Randy Cox and his family receives justice now!”
Responding to the Nichols investigation specifically, Jacobson told the News that New Haven has a different procedure.
The four officers will have the opportunity to defend themselves during the Board of Police Commissioners process.
Jorge Camacho, policy director of the justice collaboratory at Yale Law School, said the officers would likely fight the disciplinary action since negative action from the department could be used against the officers during their pending criminal trials. Officers involved were allowed to testify during the Internal Affairs investigation on March 17 and March 20.
“I anticipate that we may see some pushback from the officers themselves or their lawyers who try to contest the firing,” Camacho told the News. “So I imagine that as part of their overall defense strategy, they’ll contest any adverse findings of any kind, including administrative findings of wrongdoing within the department.”
The five officers involved have all been charged with two misdemeanors: reckless endangerment in the second degree and cruelty to person. They were arrested on November 28 and released on 25,000 dollar bonds. They have all pleaded not guilty to the charges, with their criminal trial still ongoing.
Randy Cox was arrested on June 19 and placed in the back of a police wagon handcuffed and without a seatbelt. At the intersection in front of Yale’s Schwarzman Center, the officer driving the car, Oscar Diaz, made a hard stop which caused Cox to slam into the front of the vehicle. Cox can be heard on video footage released after the incident saying that he believed his neck was broken.
Diaz called for medical assistance; however, in contravention of department policy, he continued driving to central booking instead of waiting in place for paramedics.
When Cox arrived at central booking, Segui determined that Cox could be placed in a holding cell even though he could not move on his own.
In footage released after the incident, Cox can be heard saying that he could not move, while the officers stated that they believed he was faking it. Cox was then dragged out of the vehicle and placed in a holding cell until paramedics arrived and transported him to a hospital.
Cox is now in a long term care facility and is a quadriplegic.
Cox has sued the city for one hundred million dollars, and the five officers involved are currently out on bail after being arrested and charged in November. Their misdemeanor charges carry up to two years in prison and a five thousand dollar fine.
This is a breaking news story that will be updated.