The cause of death for Layleen Cubilette-Polanco, a 27-year-old trans woman who was jailed at Rikers Island, was confirmed on Tuesday to be the result of a medical condition that causes seizures.
“Genetic testing on this decedent showed a biological mutation in the CANNA1H gene which is the likely cause of her epilepsy; variants in this gene are associated with seizures,” Sampson said.
Cubilette-Polanco was found in her cell at the Rose M. Singer Center on June 7. At the time she was in a “restrictive housing unit” (what some have referred to as solitary confinement, even though the Department of Corrections has insisted that it does not have solitary confinement) after being adjudicated for assaulting and injuring another person in custody, Pix11 noted in another report.
Since her death, activists have been demanding to know why she was locked up in Rikers for misdemeanor assault and drug possession charges, and why she was left alone despite her medical condition.
Her family, who has bluntly claimed that the city “failed to protect Layleen,” said that her bail had been set at $500 following her arrest in April, but she couldn’t afford to pay it.
Lawyers from David B. Shaines Law Office representing the family said that the Department of Corrections knew of her condition, adding that she had suffered multiple seizures while at Rikers.
The lawyers argued that the decision to place her in “punitive segregation” became “her death warrant.”