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Five Officers Placed On Leave After Suspect Injured In CT While In Police Custody

The prisoner is dragged into a cell.
The prisoner is dragged into a cell. Photo Credit: New Haven Police/Body Cam Video Shot

Three more police officers have been placed on leave in connection with the handling and alleged abuse of a prisoner in Connecticut, bringing the total number of officers on leave to five.

The incident took place in New Haven on Thursday, June 23 or allegedly injuring and potentially paralyzing 36-year-old Richard Cox who was being transported in a police van on Sunday, June 19.

Officers Ronald Pressley, Jocelyn Lavandier, and Luis Rivera have been placed on paid administrative leave, said Officer Scott Shumway of the New Haven Police.

All three “were all present in the Detention Facility and were involved in the handling” of Cox, Shumway said.

“The way in which Mr. Cox was treated, transported, and handled by the officers involved in this incident at the police detention center was completely unacceptable," said Mayor Justin Elicker. "Anyone that comes into custody of the New Haven Police Department should be treated with dignity and respect and cared for in a manner that ensures their safety and well-being."

Cox was injured when he was being brought to the detention center in a van that had straps for him to hold on to, but no seat belts, police said.

Videos released by police show Cox lying down on the floor and kicking the rear door of the van, before sitting back on a bench.

When Officer Oscar Diaz hit the brakes hard to avoid an accident, Cox fell and hit his head, apparently becoming paralyzed, the videos show.

The van traveled 36 mph in a 25 mph zone at the time, officials said.

Once at the detention center, fellow officers dragged Cox out of the van, processed him in a wheelchair, and put him on the floor of a holding cell, officials said.

An ambulance crew treated him there and ultimately took him to the hospital.

Diaz and Sgt. Betsy Segui were placed on paid administrative leave earlier in the week.

State police are leading the investigation into Cox’s arrest and treatment, the department said.

Mayor Elicker said the city is planning to require all prisoners to be wearing a seat belt when being transported.

Cox had been arrested on an illegal gun charge. 

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