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Jail officials faulted over epileptic trans woman’s death

Posted at 11:19 AM, Jul 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-31 14:19:56-04

NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer for the family of a transgender woman who died from an epileptic seizure at New York City’s Rikers Island says she never should have been placed in a solitary unit.

Lawyer David Shanies said Wednesday that it’s “hard to imagine” the decision to place 27-year-old Layleen Polanco in restrictive housing.

Polanco was found unresponsive in her cell in June. She had been in custody since mid-April, unable to post $500 bail after an assault arrest.

The city medical examiner said Polanco’s cause of death was sudden unexplained death in epilepsy.

Shanies said city doctors should not have cleared Polanco to be segregated.

Department of Correction officials have said she was in restrictive housing for assaulting another inmate.

The department says it is “participating fully” in an investigation into Polanco’s death.