27-year-old, Layleen Polanco, also known as Layleen Xtravaganza, was found dead in her jail cell on Rikers Island last week and now her family as well as the LGBTQ community plan to rally, demanding justice in her name.
Polanco was arrested in April for allegedly assaulting a cab driver in Harlem and having a controlled substance. She was jailed in New York City’s Rikers Island Jail for almost two months, presumably because she was unable to post bail.
Polanco, who was reportedly being kept in a housing unit meant to reduce violence against trans and gender non-conforming people, was found unresponsive in her cell at the Rose M. Singer women’s facility Friday afternoon. According to The Root, medical professionals attempted to revive her for about an hour before she was pronounced dead.
The Department of Correction Commissioner, Cynthia Brann, has promised a full investigation while the New York Medical Examiner continues to work on determining Polanco’s cause of death.
Rally organizers said in a statement, “This tragic loss of yet another member of the trans community comes just days after the start of Pride season. There is no pride to be had while trans folks continue to face an epidemic of fatal violence.” At Brooklyn Pride, Black Trans Media wrote all 10 of the recent victim’s names on a banner.
The statement continued, “We demand a full investigation into the death of Layleen Polanco Xtravaganza and transparency with [the] community.” Layleen’s sister, Melania G Cubilette, has established a GoFund Me fundraiser to pay for Polanco’s funeral costs and has raised more than $12,000, exceeding the initial goal of $9,000.
Our deepest condolences to the family of Layleen Polanco ??