Lowell police conducting internal investigation after woman dies in police custody
Team 5 Investigates is exposing a local police department that failed to get a young woman who died in its custody medical care.
The troubling events leading up to her death were caught on surveillance cameras. Team 5 Investigates’ Kathy Curran obtained the exclusive video showing what went wrong.
Thirty-one year old Alyssa Brame’s last hours of life were spent at the Lowell police department after she was picked up for soliciting sex last January.
Team 5 Investigates exclusively obtained surveillance video of the night in question that shows the young mother highly intoxicated and unable to stand and walk on her own.
At first, police put her on the floor next to a stairwell where at one point as many as six people stood around assessing her condition. Then Brame was carried to the booking room where she was placed on the floor and quickly searched.
Brame was breathing, but not moving, so she was placed in a cell, unconscious, and left alone for more than an hour, in violation of department policies which state “at no time will an unconscious prisoner be placed into a cell,” and another policy that requires prisoners to be visually checked every 30 minutes.
Her mother, Alice Swiridowsky-Muckle, is outraged. “You know, the motto for the police department is ‘protect and serve’ and in no way did they protect or serve her,” said Swiridowsky-Muckle. “It’s negligence. They were negligent that night because they did nothing,” she said.
The video shows when two civilian workers finally checked on Brame, her arm and face were blue and she had no pulse.
Team 5 Investigates has learned neither one of them had current training in CPR. One left to alert a commanding officer, then several officers went back to the cell to try and resuscitate Brame. However, it took fourteen minutes before anyone called for medical help.
“It’s remarkable that there were so many officers who saw the state Alyssa was in and none of them said, ‘let’s call 911,'” said Howard Friedman, an attorney for the family.
Records show when EMTS finally arrived, they were told the patient was dead and had been gone for a long time.
“She died like a caged animal,” said Swiridowsky-Muckle.
Captain Kelly Richardson, a spokesman for the Lowell police department declined Team 5 Investigates request for an interview because he said the department is conducting an internal investigation.
Read the rest of this article and see the video here.
Update (11/14/2013): The Lowell Sun obtained a copy the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office’s report on Brame’s death. The district attorney found several policy violations, but concluded that no criminal charges against the police officers were warranted.