Randy Cox, the man who was paralyzed while authorities were transporting him handcuffed and without a seat belt in a police van, reached a $45 million settlement with the City of New Haven, his attorneys announced Saturday.
The settlement marked the end of a civil lawsuit filed against the southern Connecticut coastal city after the June 2022 incident in which an abrupt stop in the back of a New Haven Police Department van caused Cox to be paralyzed from the chest down.
The settlement marks the largest involving a police misconduct case in US history, according to Cox’s attorneys, Ben Crump, Louis Rubano and RJ Weber.
“The city’s mistakes have been well documented, but today is a moment to look to the future, so New Haven residents can have confidence in their city and their police department,” read a joint statement from the attorneys.
“This settlement sends a message to the country that we know we must be better than this,” the attorneys said.
New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said in a statement that the settlement was “an important and sobering part of this accountability process.”
“While nothing can ever return Randy’s life to the way it was prior to this incident, we trust that this settlement will allow him to receive the support and medical care he needs to move forward,” Elicker said.
Of the $45 million settlement funds, the city’s insurance will cover $30 million while the city will pay the remainder, according to a statement from Cox’s attorneys.
The announcement came just days after four members of the New Haven Board of Police Commissioners voted to dismiss two of the five police officers – Jocelyn Lavandier and Luis Rivera – that were involved in the 2022 incident, which happened on Juneteenth – the annual celebration marking the end of slavery in the US.
Cox’s attorneys said the decision on Wednesday to terminate Lavandier and Rivera “reflected a commitment to accountability and justice.”
Lavandier’s attorney, Daniel Ford, called the dismissal “an absolute rush to judgment” in a statement to CNN.
CNN has reached out to Rivera for comment.
On June 19, 2022, the two officers, along with Oscar Diaz, Ronald Pressley and Sgt. Betsy Segui, transported Cox following his arrest on suspicion of illegally possessing a handgun, CNN previously reported.
A handcuffed Cox can be seen in a video of the transport hitting his head on the van’s back wall as it came to a sudden stop.
The charges against Cox were dropped in October 2022.
The five officers involved pleaded not guilty in January and have not gone to trial, CNN affiliate WFSB reported.