2019-06-13 16:11:40

Community Demands Answers After Trans Black Latinx Woman Layleen Polanco Died at Rikers

Outrage is mounting over the death of Layleen Polanco, a transgender Afro-Latinx woman who was found dead in a cell at Rikers Island on Friday. Polanco was arrested on misdemeanor charges and jailed on Rikers in April when she was unable to post $500 bail. Nearly two months later, she was dead.

Her family, friends and transgender rights activists are now demanding answers for the conditions that led to the 27-year-old’s death. The city says the cause of death has not yet been determined.

Polanco was held in a unit for transgender women while jailed at Rikers, but a week before her death she was transferred to so-called restrictive housing, an arrangement Polanco’s lawyer says amounts to solitary confinement. Layleen’s death came at the beginning of Pride Month and just one day after the NYPD apologized for the first time for its raid a half-century ago on the Stonewall Inn, a gay- and trans-friendly bar in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. In June of 1969, the inn was the site of a violent police raid that triggered an uprising and helped launch the modern-day LGBTQ rights movement.

Democracy Now! speaks with Raquel Willis, a transgender activist and writer, executive editor of Out magazine, and Joel Wertheimer, an attorney representing the family of Layleen Polanco.

Amy Goodman Democracy Now! Free Speech TV Greenwich Village Joel Wertheimer layleen Polanco LGBTQIA Rights Out Magazine Raquel Willis Rikers Island Stonewall Inn Trans Rights

Human Rights and Equality

Democracy Now!

After a Year of Taliban Control, "Women and Girls of Afghanistan Have Lost Their Right to Be Human"

After a Year of Taliban Control, "Women and Girls of Afghanistan Have Lost Their Right to Be Human"

Democracy Now!

Afghanistan: The Taliban Cracks Down on Women's Rights as U.S. Sanctions Worsen Humanitarian Crisis

Afghanistan: The Taliban Cracks Down on Women's Rights as U.S. Sanctions Worsen Humanitarian Crisis

Democracy Now!

As Rent Soars & Evictions Spike, Will Biden Address Housing Crisis with Same Urgency as Gas Prices?

As Rent Soars & Evictions Spike, Will Biden Address Housing Crisis with Same Urgency as Gas Prices?

Rising Up With Sonali

Did Kansas Prove Ballot Measures Can Restore Abortion Rights?

Did Kansas Prove Ballot Measures Can Restore Abortion Rights?

Related

Democracy Now!

"There Are Good Reasons to Defund the FBI. They Have Nothing to Do with Trump": Alex Vitale

"There Are Good Reasons to Defund the FBI. They Have Nothing to Do with Trump": Alex Vitale

Democracy Now!

Mike Pompeo & CIA Sued for Spying on Americans Who Visited Julian Assange in Embassy in U.K.

Mike Pompeo & CIA Sued for Spying on Americans Who Visited Julian Assange in Embassy in U.K.

Democracy Now!

Top U.S. & World Headlines — August 16, 2022

Top U.S. & World Headlines — August 16, 2022

Democracy Now!

"Will We Become Our Enemy?": After Salman Rushdie Assassination Attempt, See Rare Address

"Will We Become Our Enemy?": After Salman Rushdie Assassination Attempt, See Rare Address

Proud Partners