Civil rights teams say Polanco’s dying represents an internet of things that may entice individuals of coloration within the justice system — particularly transgender girls of coloration — with devastating outcomes.
“We all know that the system failed Layleen,” stated David Shanies, a lawyer representing the household. “What we’re looking for out now could be how that got here to cross.”
Whereas officers examine what induced her dying, a neighborhood is in mourning and her household is looking for solutions. They wish to know the way Polanco ended up at Rikers jail for misdemeanor fees and why was she left alone regardless of a medical situation that gave her seizures.
“I simply need people within the trans neighborhood to know that we’re as a metropolis dedicated to getting it proper and to having a respectful metropolis, and that is one which we have to get all of the information on.”
A neighborhood gathers
At a rally Monday in Decrease Manhattan, a banner included the names of different deceased transgender girls, a lot of them victims of violence. Different attendees waved indicators that stated “Black & Brown Trans Lives Matter” and #JusticeForLayleen.
Members of Polanco’s organic and prolonged household got here collectively to demand justice.
“Our neighborhood is actually dying to dwell. We are actually dying to be seen in peace and concord with you all,” Moore instructed the gang. “We aren’t protected anyplace.”
“Now we have loads of unanswered questions, however one factor we all know is that Layleen Polanco Xtravaganza shouldn’t have died in a cell at Rikers Island,” stated Beverly Tillery, Govt Director of the New York Metropolis Anti-Violence Undertaking, which organized Monday’s rally.
“Our neighborhood got here collectively to demand a radical, absolutely clear investigation and an finish to the circumstances that turned a misdemeanor offense right into a dying sentence,” she stated in a press release.
How bail reform might have saved her
Polanco was arrested on misdemeanor fees of assault and harassment, court docket data present.
She was taken into custody as a result of she had missed court docket dates as a part of a substitute for incarceration program stemming from prostitution fees, court docket data point out.
Had Polanco been arrested after January 2020, when the brand new measures take impact, she wouldn’t have been held on bail, stated Audacia Ray with the New York Metropolis Anti-Violence Undertaking, which organized the rally.
“Polanco was caught on the intersections of horrible legal authorized insurance policies, and this systemic violence led to her dying,” she stated.
Reason for dying underneath investigation
Courtroom data point out that Polanco was arrested on April 13 and brought into custody three days later.
An officer discovered Polanco unresponsive in her cell the afternoon of June 7, the Division of Corrections stated.
Medical employees deemed her unconscious and supplied care till they pronounced her lifeless at 3:45 p.m.
The Division of Corrections stated the reason for dying is underneath investigation, but it surely was not the results of violence and preliminary experiences present no foul play.
“It is a tragic loss and we prolong our deepest condolences to her household. We’re conducting a full investigation as the protection and well-being of individuals in our custody is our prime precedence,” Division of Correction Commissioner Cynthia Brann stated in a press release.
The Chief Medical Examiner’s Workplace is analyzing the trigger and method of dying, spokeswoman Aja Worthy-Davis stated.
“Trauma was not discovered to contribute to this fatality. We are actually performing extra toxicology and medical examinations to determine different attainable elements.”
Polanco’s household stated she had a severe medical situation that induced life-threatening seizures, Shanies stated. They think insufficient care might have contributed to her dying, particularly after she was positioned in solitary confinement.
However the Division of Corrections stated it doesn’t have solitary confinement. Polanco was positioned in what it known as a restrictive housing unit on the Rose M. Singer Middle on Could 30 after she was adjudicated for an assault that injured one other particular person in custody, DOC stated.
The division described the restrictive housing unit as a joint program with Correctional Well being Providers designed to “incentivize participation in psychological well being applications.” Residents of the unit obtain as much as seven hours a day exterior of their cell for programming and providers and leisure.
No matter how she ended up there, she was entitled to correct medical remedy, Shanies stated — particularly if she had been in an altercation that would have exacerbated her situation.
And he or she didn’t need to die.
“The household is looking for solutions, looking for data and asking loads of questions.”