Statement on the Death of Layleen Polanco

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(NEW YORK, NY) – The Legal Aid Society released the below statement on the death of Layleen Polanco, a Legal Aid client who passed away in New York City Department of Correction custody late last week at Rikers Island:

“The Legal Aid Society is deeply saddened by the death of our client, Layleen Polanco, who passed away in Department of Correction custody on Friday at Rikers Island. We send our condolences to all who knew and loved her.

Ms. Polanco’s passing is a tragic reminder of the heightened risk and physical and emotional torture that transgender people - especially those from communities of color - face in the criminal legal system, particularly while in custody. Her heartbreaking and untimely death warrants a swift, complete, independent, and transparent investigation from the City. We join New Yorkers in demanding justice for Ms. Polanco, her family, and for her community.”