In response to the death of a woman who was being held in custody at a Massachusetts jail, four Lowell police officers have been placed on paid leave while they are investigated for their involvement in the incident.
The woman, 31-year-old Alyssa Brame, was arrested in January 2013, according to WBUR. Brame died from acute alcohol poisoning around two hours after her arrest.
The officers who were on duty at the time of Brame’s death are being accused of failing to properly attend to her obvious medical condition. Video evidence clearly depicts at least two officers dragging Brame into her cell because she is unable to stand up.
“The combined investigations by the Middlesex district attorney and our own board of inquiry determined Ms. Brame was not given the proper medical attention that she was in obvious need of while in the custody of the Lowell Police Department," Lowell Police Department Superintendent William Taylor said in an official letter regarding the investigation. "In addition, policies and regulations of the Lowell Police Department specifically in place to prevent such a tragedy were violated.”
According to the Lowell Sun, the department is required to check on inmates every 30 minutes, but there was a 56-minute gap in time before Brame was checked on. Officers have attributed this gap in time to the fact that the employees changed shifts while Brame was in custody, and the new officers were not aware of her condition.
District Attorney Marian Ryan defended the employees’ decision to keep Brame in the jail, claiming that hospitals might have been asking the department to cease sending so many individuals in their direction.
“Over time, there appears to be a perception among police personnel that there was push-back from the hospitals regarding the number of prisoners being transported to the hospital for evaluation,” Ryan said.
Taylor is also investigating three other employees who have not been placed on paid leave in an attempt to find who was responsible for the incident.