By Marcy Jones, Rob Polansky
NEW HAVEN, Connecticut (WFSB) — Two New Haven police officers were placed on leave after a suspect was seriously hurt while in custody.
The department’s acting police chief called for an internal investigation.
Mayor Justin Elicker and police released footage of the incident on Tuesday afternoon.
The video showed the moment 36-year-old Richard Cox was injured while riding in the back of a police transport van on Saturday night. He was thrown to the back of the van.
Police said Cox could be paralyzed after the van made an abrupt stop to avoid a crash.
The interim police chief, Regina Rush-Kittle, and Elicker said they want to be transparent about what led up to the incident and the investigation going forward.
According to New Haven police, they were called to Lilac Street shortly before 7:30 p.m. for a weapons complaint.
When police got there, they say they found Cox in possession of a handgun, something he’s not allowed to have as a convicted felon.
On the way to the detention facility, police said the officer driving the van made what’s being described as an evasive maneuver where he braked hard in order to avoid an accident.
That’s when Cox was hurt.
Rush-Kittle said Cox alerted the officer that he was injured and couldn’t move.
Instead of stopping the van and getting immediate medical attention, which is part of the department’s policies and procedures, New Haven’s assistant chief Karl Jacobson said the officer kept driving.
Police said the thought was that the van was not too far from the facility, and that the ambulance could meet it there.
Medics took Cox to Yale-New Haven Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery.
The van’s driver, Officer Oscar Diaz, and Sgt. Betsy Segui, who was in charge of the detention facility, were both placed on paid administrative leave.
State police took over the investigation to see if there was any criminal wrongdoing.
The New Haven Police Department said it is still gathering information about what happened.
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