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NYC Disciplines 17 Prison Staff Over Latina Woman’s 2019 Death

Stacie Sherman

(Bloomberg) -- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said 17 Rikers Island uniformed staff face disciplinary action after an investigation into the 2019 death of Layleen Polanco, a transgender Latina woman who was found dead in a prison cell.

Three officers and one captain will be suspended without pay immediately, de Blasio said Friday in a statement. The city initiated its own investigation after the Bronx district attorney filed no charges following a six-month review.

“What happened to Layleen was absolutely unacceptable, and it is critical that there is accountability,” de Blasio said.

Polanco, 27, of Yonkers, died last June. She had been in jail for two months because she could not afford $500 bail on misdemeanor charges. Polanco’s family sued the city for wrongful death, saying that the prison staff denied her medical care that could have saved her life after she had an epileptic seizure.

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