Daily Mail: Transgender woman, 27, is found dead in her cell on Rikers Island as heartbroken family blast prison bosses for 'failing to protect' her

An investigation has been launched after a transgender woman was found dead in her cell at Rikers Island jail in New York City.

Layleen Polanco, 27, had been arrested on April 16th for allegedly assaulting a cab driver in Harlem and having a controlled substance.

Officials at the Queens jail found Polanco unresponsive in her cell on Friday afternoon in the part of the prison on Rikers Island that houses female inmates.

Despite efforts to revive her, she was pronounced dead an hour later according to ABC7.

Polanco was arrested in April for allegedly assaulting a taxi driver and being in possession of a controlled substance in Harlem

New York's Department of Correction said they are still investigating the death, but said it does not appear to be the result of violence or foul play.

The Medical Examiner will work to determine the cause of death, and prison bosses have promised an investigation.

Members of the transgender community are planning a rally outside 100 Centre Street for Monday to demand answers and justice for Polanco.

Polanco is the 10th trans woman to be found dead in the US this year.

In a statement, her family said, 'We are heartbroken over the death of our beloved Layleen, whose bright light was an inspiration for all who knew her.

'As we gather to mourn this tremendous loss, we are left shocked and outraged by the stony silence from the Department of Correction, Mayor's Office, NYPD, and City government.

'The family demands answers and we are entitled to them.

'The City failed to protect Layleen, and now it is trying to sweep her death under the rug. We will not allow it.'

On Monday morning, The Legal Aid Society released a statement on Polanco's death.

'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.'

Polanco was a member of the House of Xtravanganza- one of the most publicly recognized 'houses' to emerge from the New York City underground ballroom scene and among the longest continually active having been founded in 1982.

Composed primarily of African American and Latino LGBTQ people, members of the ballroom community traditionally form 'houses' which serve the dual purpose of providing a surrogate family structure, and competing for trophies and prestige in community organized balls.

'Heartbroken and enraged from the harsh reality that Layleen Polanco, who was incarcerated on Rikers Island,' said Janet Mock, who directed a TV series about the 1980s ballroom scene in New York.

'Folks are gathering Monday in NYC and collecting donations to help lay her to rest. We need to check and challenge anyone seeking to police our bodies, genders, and identities. Rest in power, Layleen,' Mock said to Pink News.