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Death in Police Custody: Kyam Livingston's family demands answers

Eulene Inniss and Khorri Atkinson | 9/26/2013, 11:25 a.m.
Family of victim left to die by police marches in Brooklyn Lem Peterkin photo

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Kyam Livingston's mother, Anita Neal seeking answers for her daughter's death.

At the protests for these demands on Sunday, more than 100 Brooklyn residents from Black and Latino communities, grassroots and civil rights organization leaders, elected officials and Livingston’s family members chanted, “We need justice for Kyam Livingston, ignored and killed at the booking cell!”

Many families at the vigil said that they too were victims of NYPD insensitivity, having lost sons and daughters. They vowed to keep protesting until a change comes. They identified with Neal, who said, “I am doing it for you, Kyam. I want to make sure whoever did it to you pays. The persons who did this should come forward. What are you there for if you can’t help someone in pain? What did she do? She was in pain, she asked for help.

“Nobody will rest until I get justice for Kyam. My daughter will not die for nothing. … Sorry I wasn’t there, Kyam. I would have helped you … I love you, Kyam.”

Family attorney Elliot H. Taub and criminal defense attorney Jay Schwitzman talked about the abhorrent conditions in Central Booking. Schwitzman, who worked with clients in the building for 25 years, was appalled at the labels that are being used to describe their deceased client. She is accused of being an alcoholic and one who suffered from seizures, which the family vehemently denies.

Schwitzman said that arrestees at Central Booking are held like cattle in a large cell under some of the most inhumane conditions. There are 20 to 30 people with a range of charges in one cell, with an open, dirty toilet. Floors are dirty, and the area is infested with vermin. NYPD staff there show no compassion for the sick or anyone, he said.

The NYPD did not respond to an AmNews request for comment.

Brooklyn Councilman Mathieu Eugene expressed his disappointment about the way the situation has been handled by the NYPD and called for a thorough investigation. He told family members that he will do whatever within in jurisdiction to ensure that an investigation is done.