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Protest erupts after a black woman dies while in Michigan police custody

Priscilla Slater was 38 years old.

Priscilla Slater Fox 2

On Monday (June 8), a Detroit woman named Priscilla Slater was taken into Michigan custody. Two days later, she was found dead in her jail cell.

According to family attorney Geoffrey Fieger, he believes that the story doesn’t add up. Per the report, Slater was found unresponsive in her jail cell and when medics attempted to revive her, it was too late. “There is no possible way that police taking care of her would not see someone who was in a serious medical need and obtain medical help,” Fieger said. “She didn’t just get up and die in the jail. She was there for 36 hours.”

The Michigan State Police is waiting for a report from the Wayne County Medical Examiner, which will detail what happened to Slater. It is also unclear why she was taken into custody in the first place.

Following the news of Slater’s passing, her family expressed their frustrations. “I’m mad about it and I want justice for Priscilla, yes I do,” Jennifer Rand, an immediate family member, told WXYZ-TV. “It sounds like it’s a coverup like they’re covering something up.” Laquita Gill, another relative, also added that police went to their house Wednesday evening, explaining that “she was found dead in her cell.”

Protests quickly erupted in Michigan outside of the police station after the news surfaced on social media. At the march, Michigan Senator Adam Hollier explained that he understood the public’s frustration following the unjust death of yet another black person. “I think when we talk about what is going on right now, everyone is heated, everyone is frustrated,” Hollier said.

Slater’s death happened on the same day as Robert Fuller, a 24-year-old black man who was found hanging from a tree in Los Angeles. Police have ruled his passing as “an alleged death by suicide.”

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