New Haven police chief Karl Jacobson is recommending that four police officers who were charged after a man who was in police custody was severely injured while in a prisoner van in June be terminated. The other officer who was charged retired from the department earlier this year.
Randy Cox was injured on June 19 while in a police transport van when it stopped short and he was slammed into the wall and hit his head, suffering paralyzing injuries.
Five New Haven police officers, Officer Oscar Diaz, Sgt. Betsy Segui, Officer Ronald Pressley, Officer Jocelyn Lavandier and Officer Luis Rivera, were arrested in November, placed on paid administrative leave and pleaded not guilty.
Jacobson said the internal affairs investigation looks into what happened and state police look into the case as well.
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In December, police restarted the internal affairs investigation, which was completed on March 6.
Then, on March 17 and 20, Officer Diaz, Sgt. Segui, Officer Lavandier and Officer Rivera had Loudermill hearings with Jacobson.
Pressley has retired from the department on Jan. 7, the police chief said, so he would not see Jacobson for discipline.
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The chief said he is sending the four current officers to the board of police commissioners and he is recommending termination.
Jacobson said he cannot fire or hire. He is able to issue a suspension of up to 15 days and the recommendation to terminate the officers must go before the board of police commissioners, which will vote on what they feel is adequate.
Segui’s attorney, E. Gregory Cerritelli, issued a statement after the police chief's news conference.
“I am not surprised by the chief’s recommendation of termination and I fully expect these four officers to be fired. There is no due process at this stage of the proceedings and the entire process lacks fundamental fairness,” Cerritelli's statement says.
“It is obvious to even a casual observer that these officers are being used as scape goats for a department that had, and has, woefully inadequate training and policies,” Cerritelli added.
The next step in the process is the Board of Police Commissioner hearings, which are expected to happen at the end of April and beginning of May.
New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said what happened to Cox is unacceptable and the city has do everything in its power to ensure that it never happens again.