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Police say CT man may be paralyzed after in-custody injury

June 21, 2022 GMT

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — An officer driving a Connecticut man to a detention facility braked to avoid a crash, seriously injuring and potentially paralyzing the man, officials said.

Richard Cox, 36, suffered a spinal injury after he was arrested on a gun charge Sunday night in New Haven, the city’s mayor, Justin Elicker, said at a news conference Monday night.

Cox was in the back of a police van when the officer driving the vehicle made an abrupt stop to avoid a crash, acting police Chief Regina Rush-Kittle said.

Cox told the officer he was injured and could not move, but officers processed him and put him into custody at the police detention center before an ambulance arrived and took him to Yale New Haven Hospital, Rush-Kittle said, according to the New Haven Register.

“Cox suffered a serious injury and may suffer paralysis,” Rush-Kittle said.

Assistant Chief Karl Jacobson said the van Cox was riding in had no seatbelts but only loops that a handcuffed prisoner can grab onto. Following Cox’s injuries, the department’s two vans without seatbelts will be taken off the road “until we can figure out the best means of transporting someone,” Jacobson said.

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Rush-Kittle ordered an internal affairs investigation into Cox’s arrest and injury. “We have also reached out to the State’s Attorney’s Office and the State Office of the Inspector General to alert them of this incident so that they can immediately begin reviewing the facts and circumstances and take any and all action they deem appropriate and that’s necessary,” she said.

Officers went to Cox’s home on Sunday after receiving a 911 call ​“regarding a weapons complaint,” Rush-Kittle said.

Cox, who is prohibited from owning a gun because of a prior conviction, was arrested on charges including criminal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. It was not known if Cox had an attorney who could speak for him.