The family of Layleen Polanco, a transgender inmate who died in solitary confinement at the prison on Rikers Island last June, has settled a lawsuit with New York City for $5.9 million over her death. Polanco, a 27-year-old who was diagnosed with epilepsy, died after suffering from a seizure on June 7, 2019, in solitary, where she was held for nine days on $500 bail. The City reports Polanco was in Rikers’ Rose M. Singer Center for allegedly assaulting other prisoners on three occasions. She was imprisoned after being unable to post her bail for an arrest two months prior. The deal marks a record amount for an inmate death in New York City, according to The City.
“This settlement will allow Layleen’s family to move forward without enduring years of protracted litigation and reliving their trauma,” Polanco’s family lawyer, David Shanies, said in a statement. “Achieving the largest settlement in the city’s history for a death in jail should serve as a powerful statement that trans lives matter.”