Over 15 NYC corrections officers to be disciplined after death of trans inmate on Riker's Island

Over 15 NYC corrections officers to be disciplined after death of trans inmate on Riker's Island
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Over 15 New York City Department of Corrections officers 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 objecting to her confinement due to her medical history, NBC News reported. 

At least three officers and one captain will be suspended from their duties 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 remaining officers involved, according to the news outlet. 

The decision was announced after Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark declined to file charges against the officers after a six-month investigation into Cubilette-Polanco's death.

Clark said in a statement that, "the purview of this office is not to determine whether it was a wrong decision" for Cubilette-Polanco to be placed in solitary confinement. Instead, he argued, it was the DA's role to "determine whether that decision rose to the level of criminal behavior."

However, New York Department of Corrections Commissioner Cynthia Brann said that her agency was committed to safety for inmates.

"We are committed to ensuring that all of our facilities are safe and humane," she said in a statement. 

"Even one death in our custody is one too many and this swift and fair determination on internal discipline makes clear that the safety and well-being of people in our custody remains our top priority."


Following a detailed investigation, Clark's office said it would be unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that officers had committed a crime that resulted in her death.

Weeks before she died, Cubilette-Polanco was hospitalized after she was "showing radical changes in behavior" such as crying, shouting, suicidal thoughts, talking to herself and charging at a jail guard, according to a report from the Board of Corrections.

The report added that upon return to Rikers Island, staff tried to place her in solitary confinement as punishment for charging at the guard, despite a psychiatrist verbally advising against this form of incarceration.

Cubilette-Planco was incarcerated at Riker's Island after she was unable to pay her $500 bail in April 2019, according to CNN.

New York Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioDe Blasio says New Yorkers should avoid holiday travel: 'It's sad. It's very sad' Video shows NYPD officers using patrol vehicle speakers to share 'Trump 2020' message Median rent in Manhattan falls below ,000 for first time in nearly a decade MORE (D) lamented over her death in a statement Friday. “What happened to Layleen was absolutely unacceptable and it is critical that there is accountability.”