70ºF

Harper Woods personnel on administrative leave after woman dies in police custody

The 38-year-old woman was found unresponsive in a holding cell Wednesday; cause of death still unknown

HARPER WOODS, Mich. – Director of Public Safety for Harper Woods Vincent Smith announced Sunday that six public safety personnel have been placed on administrative leave following the mysterious death of Priscilla Slater last week.

Slater, 38, was found unresponsive in a holding cell on Wednesday after being arrested in connection with a shooting incident on Tuesday.

READ: 38-year-old woman dies in holding cell in Harper Woods; cause unknown

According to officials medics immediately attempted to revive Slater but were unsuccessful. Officials are still awaiting autopsy and toxicology reports from the Wayne County Medical Examiner to determine the cause of Slater’s death.

Harper Woods officials said Sunday that four civilian aides and two supervisors in the public safety department have been placed on administrative leave while the investigation is underway. Their role in the incident is unknown at this time.

Protesters gathered around Harper Woods’ City Hall on Friday to demand answers regarding Slater’s death. Some demonstrators, including some of Slater’s family members, confronted the city’s Mayor Ken Poynter during the protest.

MORE: Protest held after 38-year-old woman dies in holding cell in Harper Woods

Protesters gathered again on Sunday to demand answers. Smith said Sunday that the cause of death won’t be known until the autopsy report is completed, and that he offers his condolences to the Slater family.

Priscilla Slater, 38, died in a holding cell while in Harper Woods police custody on June 10, 2020.
Priscilla Slater, 38, died in a holding cell while in Harper Woods police custody on June 10, 2020.

Michigan State Police are investigating the incident.

Slater’s death happened amid national unrest over police brutality and racism following the recent deaths of Black Americans Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and now Rayshard Brooks of Atlanta.

Brooks was shot by a police officer amid a struggle on Friday after failing a sobriety test and attempting to flee.

READ: Atlanta officer fired after fatal shooting of Black man


About the Author: