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Vol. 77/No. 37      October 21, 2013

Arrested by NY cops, woman dies
next day from lack of care
NEW YORK — On July 20 my godsister Kyam Livingston was arrested by police from Brooklyn’s 70th Precinct. The next day, she was dead after guards refused her request to see a doctor.

Livingston, 37, was picked up after her grandmother called police when the two had gotten into an argument. She was brought to the Brooklyn Central Booking jail to await a hearing for allegedly violating a protection order that forbade her to argue with her grandmother or drink alcohol in the apartment.

In the cell, Livingston experienced severe stomach pain and diarrhea and asked to see a doctor. Her request was ignored. Her condition worsened and according to witnesses she repeatedly requested medical care only to have the guards belittle her.

This ordeal went on for seven hours. The other inmates cleared a bench for Livingston, tied her hair back, and tried to tend to her and comfort her. Eventually, she went into convulsions.

The cops stereotyped her as some sort of derelict, calling her an “alcoholic,” (as if that would be grounds for denying someone medical attention). Aleah Holland, a nurse who was one of some 15 women in the cell that night, told the Daily News that when women in the cell banged on the bars for help, officers told them to “shut up before we lose your paperwork.”

“Let it play out,” said another guard when she saw Livingston convulsing, according to Holland.

The police tried to cover up their fatal “mistake.” They reached out to their press contacts and smeared the character of Livingston and her family. They reported she had attacked her grandmother in a drunken rage, when it had been only a verbal altercation (she was arrested coming out of the shower). And they said she died after going into “sudden” seizures without mention of the hours she pleaded for medical care.

The cover-up continues. Brooklyn Central Booking is riddled with security cameras recording what goes on in the cells, yet the New York Police Department claims there is no tape showing what happened.

This could happen to anyone detained by the police. If you get sick, you could be at the mercy of callous cops with hardened hearts who decide on their own whether you warrant or “deserve” medical treatment.

On Aug. 21, the family organized a vigil outside Central Booking with local clergy and community leaders. On Sept. 21 they initiated a rally and march in the Flatbush community where Livingston grew up and lived.

On Oct. 21 at 6 p.m., there will be another rally in front of Brooklyn Central Booking at 120 Schermerhorn St. Family and supporters of Livingston are demanding that the NYPD release any video footage from the cell and the names of the officers who refused her medical care, as well as prosecution of those responsible and an investigation into the filthy and abusive conditions at the New York City Central Booking jail.

For more information:
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Three days before he dies, judge orders his release for not getting fair trial
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