Mother Of Trans Woman Who Died At Rikers Sues NYC

Layleen Polanco, a 27-year-old Afro-Latinx transgender woman, died in solitary confinement at Rikers Island on June 7 — now her mother is suing the city.


The mother of Layleen Cubilette-Polanco, a 27-year-old Afro-Latinx transgender woman who died in solitary confinement at Rikers Island June 7, is suing New York City for what advocates for Cubilette-Polanco say was a preventable death.

Layleen Polanco, a 27-year-old Afro-Latinx transgender woman, died in solitary confinement at Rikers Island on June 7 — now her mother is suing the city.

. Arecelis’ lawsuit alleges that officials at Rikers were aware that her daughter suffered from both epilepsy and schizophrenia, conditions that made it dangerous for her to be placed in solitary confinement. Officials placed Cubilette-Polanco in solitary confinement, where she was forced to stay in lockdown for 17 hours a day, following a fight in jail.

. It also includes that Layleen was hospitalized for “one or more of her medical conditions” for roughly eight days just weeks before she was found unresponsive in her cell. According to the lawsuit, Cubilette-Polanco had multiple seizures while in custody in the months before her death.

, the New York City Board of Correction, which provides oversight for New York City’s jails, created a rule granting medical staff authority to exclude individuals from punitive segregation if solitary confinement “would pose a serious threat to an inmate’s physical or mental health.” Arecelis’ lawsuit alleges that Cubilette-Polanco was placed in solitary confinement on May 30 and was regularly was left alone in her cell for many hours at a time.

"Our thoughts remain with Layleen Polanco’s, family, friends, and community. Her death is particularly painful given the long and tragic history of injustice toward the transgender community, which we will not stand for," Avery Cohen, Mayor Bill de Blasio's deputy press secretary, said on behalf of the city, in response to a request for comment from Refinery29."Any loss of life in our custody is unacceptable, and we must continue our work towards enacting long- term criminal justice reform.” Cohen did not have any comment in regards to the charges in the suit.

Read more: Refinery29

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