NEW YORK—Today, the Bronx District Attorney announced no criminal charges will be brought in conjunction with the death of Layleen Cubilette-Polanco, a trans woman who died of a seizure in solitary confinement on Rikers Island in 2019.
Senator Brad Hoylman, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the only openly LGBTQ member of the New York State Senate, issued the following statement in response:
“Our criminal justice system failed Layleen Cubilette-Polanco, just as it has failed Black and trans New Yorkers for decades. I’m heartbroken for Layleen’s family and loved ones who were once again denied justice today. And I’m outraged that law enforcement made the cruel decision to deadname Layleen in their announcement.
“Today, we must reaffirm that Black trans lives matter. New York must update our outdated laws to ensure they treat trans and gender non-conforming New Yorkers with respect and dignity. That starts with repealing the so-called “Walking While Trans” ban, which gives law enforcement carte blanche to stop-and-frisk trans women of color.
“It’s more important than ever to remember that the modern movement for LGBTQ rights was led by Black and Brown trans women. This Pride month, we must make sure to center their voices.”