A transgender woman died inside a jail cell of New York’s notorious Rikers Island on Friday afternoon, leading to calls for a thorough investigation.
According to NBC News, Layleen Polanco was found unresponsive in her cell at the Rose M. Singer Center, which houses female inmates around 2:40 p.m. Friday by an officer conducting a tour of the area.
Staff attempted to revive Polanco, performing CPR on her until medical staff arrived about 11 minutes later. However, after about an hour, the 27-year-old was declared dead.
“We are heartbroken over the death of our beloved Layleen, whose bright light was an inspiration to all who knew her,” her family said in a statement on Sunday, according to the network.
The statement also claimed that the city “failed to protect Layleen.”
“The family demands answers and we are entitled to them,” the statement added.
Polanco’s cause of death is still undetermined, however, the Department of Corrections has said that violence was not involved.
“This is a tragic loss and we extend our deepest condolences to her family,” Correction Commissioner Cynthia Brann said. “We are conducting a full investigation as the safety and well-being of people in our custody is our top priority.”