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Transgender woman’s death in NYC jail under investigation

Posted at 5:26 PM, Jun 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-11 17:26:33-04

NEW YORK — The family of a transgender woman who died in a New York City jail says she had a seizure disorder and other health problems and was hospitalized weeks before her death.

A jail officer found 27-year-old Layleen Polanco unresponsive in her Rikers Island cell Friday. She had been in custody since mid-April, unable to post $500 bail after an assault arrest.

A jail officer found 27-year-old Layleen Polanco unresponsive in her Rikers Island cell Friday.

The medical examiner has yet to determine a cause of death but said no trauma was involved.

David Shanies, an attorney representing Polanco's mother and sister, says jail officials were aware of Polanco's health problems.

He says she never should have been left alone in a cell.

Polanco's death has attracted attention from prisoner advocates.

She had been in custody since mid-April, unable to post $500 bail after an assault arrest.

Correctional Health Services, which provides medical care to inmates, declined comment citing patient privacy.