Congressman Hakeem Jeffries

Representing the 8th District of New York

NYDN: Family sues over drunken woman’s death in Brooklyn holding cell

Oct 22, 2013
In The News

The city medical examiner has ruled that the controversial death of a Brooklyn woman in an NYPD holding cell was of "natural" cause due to an alcoholic seizure.

Kyam Livingston's cause of death was disclosed Monday as family members filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Brooklyn Federal Court alleging the woman's pleas for medical assistance were ignored by cops at the central booking jail got hours.

"This was an unnecessary death and we have to get to the bottom of why this tragedy occurred," said Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn), who joined Livingston's mother, son and other supporters outside the courthouse.

Livingston, 37, was arrested last July after downing a bottle of vodka and violating an order of protection taken out by her elderly grandmother.

Another inmate who was present in the filthy and crowded holding pen at Schermerhorn St. had previously told the Daily News that Livingston had complained of stomach pains and diarrhea, but received no treatment from the officers who told them the woman was a drunk.

"It takes two minutes to see if someone needs help," Livingston's mother Anita Neal wept as she held a photograph of her daughter lying in a coffin.

"They let her beg for seven hours," she said.

Calls to the NYPD for the status of the investigation were not immediately returned.

A spokeswoman for the Brooklyn DA’s office said prosecutors are reviewing the medical examiner's findings.

Livingston's mother and her son Alex said they do not accept the findings of the city's autopsy report. "Lack of medical attention caused her death," said lawyer Jay Schwitzman.

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