Six Public Safety Employees On Leave After Michigan Woman Was Found Dead In Cell Less Than 12 Hours After Arrest

Six pub­lic safe­ty employ­ees were placed on leave after a Michigan woman was found unre­spon­sive in a hold­ing cell less than 12 hours after her arrest.
Priscilla Slater was found unre­spon­sive at 12:45 p.m. by a Harper Woods pub­lic safe­ty staffer on June 10, accord­ing to The Detroit Metro Times. She was rushed to a hos­pi­tal and pro­nounced dead at a local hos­pi­tal. She had been arrest­ed at 1 a.m. in con­nec­tion with a shoot­ing at a hotel in Harper Woods, a sub­urb of Detroit. Six Harper Woods pub­lic safe­ty employ­ees were placed on leave while the death is being inves­ti­gat­ed by the Michigan State Police. Harper Woods Public Safety Director Vincent Smith sent well-wish­es to Slater’s fam­i­ly and promised to get answers.

I offer my con­do­lences to Ms. Slater’s fam­i­ly. MSP inves­ti­ga­tors, mem­bers of com­mand and myself noti­fied Ms. Slater’s fam­i­ly of the inci­dent in an effort to pro­vide what­ev­er infor­ma­tion that may have been avail­able at the time,” Smith said in a state­ment. “MSP inves­ti­ga­tors are dili­gent­ly inves­ti­gat­ing this inci­dent with the com­plete coöper­a­tion of the Department. The cause of death will not be known until the results of the autop­sy and tox­i­col­o­gy report are com­plet­ed.” In an inter­view with Local 4 Defender, Smith said the sus­pen­sions were pro­to­col and not an admis­sion of guilt. The employ­ees in ques­tion includ­ed four civil­ian aides and two super­vi­sors.

It is pro­ce­dur­al right now,” Smith said. “The inves­ti­ga­tion is going on with state police. These six were on duty when Ms. Slater was found unre­spon­sive. It is pro­ce­dur­al to coöper­ate with the MSP inves­ti­ga­tion.”
Slater’s death sparked a tense protest in front of the Harper Woods City Hall. Demonstrators con­front­ed Mayor Kenneth Poynter and his wife as they walked into the build­ing on Friday, June 12, two days after Slater’s death. Poynter’s wife man­aged to snatch a sign and rip it. Slater’s fam­i­ly is also hold­ing the city account­able and has retained attor­ney Geoffrey Fieger.
“There is no way the police wouldn’t see that some­body was in a seri­ous med­ical need,” Fieger said, accord­ing to Fox 2 Detroit.

Fieger is launch­ing an inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tion into Slater’s death. “The indif­fer­ence to Black lives by the pow­ers that be is astound­ing,” Fieger said. “It doesn’t hap­pen to rich white peo­ple.