More than 15 officers from the New York City Department of Corrections will face disciplinary action surrounding the death of a 27-year-old transgender woman who died in solitary confinement at Riker’s Island Jail last year.
Layleen Xtravaganza Cubilette-Polanco died in June 2019 after being placed in solitary confinement and suffering an epileptic seizure, despite the advice of at least one doctor who opposed her confinement due to her medical history, NBC News reported.
At least three officers and a captain will be suspended from duty without pay immediately, the New York City Department of Corrections said in a statement Friday.
It was not immediately clear what disciplinary action would be taken for the other officers involved, according to the media outlet.
The decision was announced after Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark declined to press charges against officers after a six-month investigation into the death of Cubilette-Polanco.
Clark said in a statement that “the scope of this office is not to determine if it was a wrong decision” that Cubilette-Polanco be placed in solitary confinement. Instead, he argued, it was the role of the DA “to determine whether that decision rose to the level of criminal behavior.”
However, New York Department of Corrections Commissioner Cynthia Brann said her agency was committed to the safety of inmates.
“We are committed to ensuring that all of our facilities are safe and humane,” it said in a statement.
“Even one death in our custody is too much, and this swift and fair determination on internal discipline makes it clear that the safety and well-being of the people in our custody remains our top priority.”
After a detailed investigation, Clark’s office said it could not prove beyond reasonable doubt that officers had committed a crime that resulted in his death.
Weeks before she died, Cubilette-Polanco was hospitalized after she “showed radical changes in behavior,” such as crying, yelling, suicidal thoughts, talking to herself, and accusing a prison guard, according to a report by the Board of Corrections .
The report added that upon returning to Rikers Island, staff attempted to place her in solitary confinement as punishment for accusing the guard, despite a psychiatrist verbally advising against this form of incarceration.
Cubilette-Planco was jailed on Riker’s Island after she was unable to post her $ 500 bond in April 2019, according to CNN.
Mayor of New York Bill de BlasioBill de Blasio Sometimes common sense overcomes a demand for freedoms Trump criticizes Black Lives leader Matter, criticizes De Blasio for wall plans Fireworks sales and complaints skyrocket in the US MORE (D) mourned his death in a statement Friday. “What happened to Layleen was absolutely unacceptable and responsibility is essential.”