Five officers on administrative leave after suspect injured in police custody

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Three additional officers are on paid administrative leave after a suspect was injured in New Haven police custody.

Acting Police Chief Regina Rush-Kittle announced Officer Ronald Pressley, Officer Jocelyn Lavandier, and Officer Luis Rivera have been placed on leave.

Police said the three officers were at the detention facility and involved with the handling of Richard Cox.

Two other officers, Officer Oscar Diaz and Sergeant Betsy Segui, were already placed on administrative leave.

Rush-Kittle released a statement:

“While the Connecticut State Police continues to take the lead on the investigation of the incident involving Mr. Richard Cox, after careful consideration of the video footage I saw, I have made the determination that all of the officers involved in the transport and handling of Mr. Cox when he arrived at our detention facility should be placed on administrative leave for potential breaches of police protocol. The handling of Mr. Cox was unacceptable; it does not reflect the high standards we hold ourselves to at the New Haven Police Department. The department remains committed to doing everything in our power to make sure an incident of this nature never happens again.”

This story is breaking. See previous story below.

We continue to follow the fallout of that body cam video showing a New Haven prisoner getting seriously injured while in the back of a police transport van.

Now we’re hearing from a local attorney who made his name going after police departments in cases just like this.

Eyewitness News talked with New Haven Attorney John R. Williams, who built his career partly by bringing lawsuits against police departments and officers.

While he’s not involved in this case, he says based on the video he’s seen, this will cost New Haven big bucks.

“I have to suppose that there are a lot of lawyers who will be reaching out to this family, because this is a huge case,” said Williams.

Williams said he filed his first police misconduct case against the New Haven Police Department back in 1971.

He said a lot has changed in those 51 years, especially when it comes to police body cam videos.

Williams said the video will play a big role in the investigation into how New Haven police handled their arrest of Richard Cox, who we’re told is now paralyzed.

“What was done here is unspeakable of course. I think they mayor even agrees, and somebody is going to have to pay for it and that’s going to be the taxpayers of the city of New Haven,” said Williams.

Police arrested Cox Sunday night after getting a call that he was walking around a Lilac Street block party with a bottle of alcohol and a handgun.

In the police footage you can see Cox slamming against the inside of the police van, laying down and kicking the door.

But during the ride, police said the driver makes a sudden stop to avoid an accident. That’s when Cox flies headfirst into the back of the van, immediately calling for help.

While Officer Oscar Diaz eventually stops and calls for an ambulance, he didn’t wait at the scene, as per department policy, instead choosing to meet them at the lock up.

Once at the lock up, officers pull Cox out of the van by his feet.

They then put him in a wheelchair to process him, at one point holding up his neck so they could take out his earrings, before dragging him into a holding cell.

Now Diaz and Sergeant Betsy Segui, who was in charge of the lock up that night, are both on administrative leave while the Connecticut State Police investigate.

“I’m sure the city is going to get sued and I hope they have to pay through the nose,” said Williams. “It’s got to be millions because this guy’s life will never be the same.”

“I don’t know how it can get much worse than that? The city has got to be on the hook for millions and if those 2 cops don’t get criminally prosecuted it shows you we still have a long way to go,” Williams added.

“For starters it sounds like assault in the first degree and its way beyond negligence. They did things to this guy nobody would do. The guy was arrested for a serious crime, but still, so it seems to me that’s where it should start, but these two people should be fired and prosecuted. Will they be? I’m not holding my breath.”

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