Cody Cox Sues Deputy Whose Gunshot During Traffic Stop Left Him a Quadriplegic

Nederland's Cody Cox was already known to local law enforcement when a Clear Creek County Deputy tried to pull him over just under a year ago -- and Cox ultimately led him and a colleague on a mini-chase of sorts. But did that mean his subsequent shooting, which left him a quadriplegic, was justified? No, argues a lawsuit filed on Cox's behalf against the law enforcer who pulled the trigger. Continue for details, as well as the lawsuit in its entirety.

See also: Jessica Ghawi's Parents Sue Firms That Sold Ammo and More to Aurora Theater Shooter

As evidenced by a memo from a Nederland Police Department rep to the town's board of trustees (it's also shared here), Cox experienced a couple of run-ins with the NPD prior to his January 31, 2014 wounding. The memo, sent shortly after the shooting, reads in part:
Our own department had a number of issues with him, as well. Officer Manzione arrested him approximately one month ago at the Post Office after a hit and run, where two citizens were holding him down upon arrival. Approximately two years ago, he was arrested...on a Domestic Violence case, where he also fought with officers.
As for what happened on the 31st, the complaint lays it out like so.

That afternoon, Cox is said to have been heading westbound on Interstate 70 "in a careless and erratic manner." Clear Creek County Deputy Kevin Klaus, responding to a report about Cox's driving, began a pursuit that was subsequently joined by another deputy, Don Wilson.

About four miles later, near mile marker 229, Cox pulled over mainly because of heavy ski traffic ahead of him, the document concedes. At that point, Klaus and Wilson stopped, too, with the former parking directly behind him and the latter coming to a stop to the immediate right.

A moment later, Wilson pointed his gun at Cox and ordered him to roll down his passenger-side window, the suit continues. After Cox did so, Wilson is said to have dismounted from his cruiser, stepped to the open window, pointed his gun inside -- and shot Cox in the lower-right area of his neck. The result, the suit reveals, was "a compound fracture of the cervical spine, and injury to [Cox's] spinal cord, which has resulted in permanent quadriplegia."

A CBS4 piece published about the incident quotes authorities as saying that "Cox began rear-ending a car in front of him" by way of an explanation for the shooting. Likewise, Fox31 cited a release expanding on this assertion; it stated that "the driver would not stop and hit a vehicle in front of him, and then kept hitting the car as if trying to push it out of the way."

In contrast, the lawsuit says Cox's vehicle only rolled forward and struck the vehicle in front of it after he was shot, not before. The document adds that when Cox was shot, his "vehicle was at or near a complete stop. At the time, the plaintfiff did not pose an immediate threat to the safety of the defendant or others, was not actively resisting arrest, and was not attempting to evade arrest by flight. There existed no other justification for the defendant's application of deadly force against the plaintiff."

The complaint doesn't ask for specific sum. Instead, it requests "compensatory damages in an amount to be determined at trial." Read it below, followed by the aforementioned Nederland memo; the info about Cox is on page two, near the end.

Cody Cox Complaint

Town of Nederland Memo 2014

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts