A 27-year-old Black trans woman, was found dead in her jail cell on Rikers Island last week and it’s sparking outrage.
Layleen Polanco, 27, was found dead in a solitary confinement cell on Rikers Island, the New York City correctional facility with a violent and controversial history, according to the woman’s family.
Out Magazine reports Polanco was found unresponsive in her jail cell at the Rose M. Singer women’s facility on Friday afternoon (June 7). Medics reportedly attempted to revive her before she was pronounced dead.
“This is a tragic loss and we extend our deepest condolences to her family,” commissioner Cynthia Brann said in a statement, according to ABC7.
Members of Polanco’s family and the LGBTQ community planned a rally today (June 10) outside the New York Criminal Court building to demand justice.
Layleen Xtravaganza was a member of the house-ballroom community House of Xtravaganza and has become the tenth Black trans woman to die this year.
She told followers on Twitter that she grew up idolizing to Layleen in the ballroom scene.
"I grew up looking to Layleen as my goal. She was one of the most beautiful women I ever seen who was trans. She and so many other girls were an example to me," Moore tweeted on Saturday.
"I can't help but think about #Sandrabland and the mystery of her death while incarcerated and the nation outrage I witnessed and contributed to," she added, referring to Sandra Bland, a Texas woman whose 2015 death sparked criticism of police treatment of minorities.
There's been a renewed focus on violence and the tragic deaths of transgender women recently in the wake of two unsolved murders in Dallas. There have been 136 murders of trans people since 2013, according to the Human Rights Campaign.