LOWELL -- The Sun has obtained the names of the three police officers and one civilian employee who have been placed on paid administrative leave in connection with the cellblock death of a 31-year-old woman in January 2013.
Lt. Thomas Siopes, Lt. Michael Kilmartin, Sgt. James Fay and senior detention attendant Kevin Lombard have been put on paid administrative leave, pending disciplinary hearings that are expected to be held in the next few weeks in front of City Manager Bernie Lynch.
Siopes was the commanding officer who oversaw Alyssa Brame's booking; Brame died a short time later of alcohol poisoning.
Fay was the street supervisor in the station at the time of Brame's booking, and Lombard oversaw the cellblock. Kilmartin's connection to the case could not be determined by The Sun.
In a letter sent to members of the department on Thursday, Superintendent William Taylor chastised those on duty when Brame was taken into custody.
"The combined investigations by the Middlesex district attorney and our own board of inquiry determined Ms. Brame was not given the proper medical attention that she was in obvious need of while in the custody of the Lowell Police Department," Taylor said in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Sun.
"In addition, policies and regulations of the Lowell Police Department specifically in place to prevent such a tragedy were violated," he said.
According to the city's fiscal year 2014 budget, Kilmartin and Siopes both make $105,353 per year; Fay earns 94,647 per year; and Lombard makes $37,795 per year. Siopes is the son of a well-known retired Lowell police captain, Susan Siopes.
The administrative action follows a detailed report by the three-member board formed to investigate the incident. The board found that eight employees acted in violation of department policies, but sources have told The Sun that the board's investigation remains active.
Brame, who had recently moved to Lowell, was found to have died from acute alcohol poisoning about two hours after being arrested, according to toxicology tests.
Brame, who was arrested on suspected prostitution charges, was booked at the police station at 11:07 p.m. on a Saturday night. She was transported to Lowell General Hospital-Saints Campus, arriving at 12:57 a.m. Eleven minutes later she was pronounced dead at 1:08 a.m., Brame's mother, Alice Swiridowsky-Muckle, told The Sun in an interview last summer.
Police Department protocol stipulates that the booking procedure be overseen by the shift's commanding officer. It's up to that officer to determine whether a prisoner requires medical attention.
Siopes was the commanding officer who oversaw Brame's booking. A shift change came at midnight, and command duties were assumed by Capt. Thomas Meehan.
In his letter to the department Thursday, Taylor said he was "personally and professionally disappointed in the care" Brame received while in police custody.
"Some Lowell police employees displayed, in my opinion, conduct which could be described as deliberate indifference for Ms. Brame and that such conduct should shock the conscience of us all," he said. "Throughout this process, we have kept the family of Ms. Brame in our thoughts."
"After careful review of evidence and findings of the board, I have determined seven employees will be recommended for discipline, which is in excess of my ability to dispense," he continued.
"My recommendations have been forwarded to the appointing authority," which is the city manager, Lynch. "As of today, I have placed four members of the department on paid administrative leave. In addition, I have asked the board of inquiry to investigate other aspects of this incident."
"As difficult as the findings are for members of this department to hear, we resolve to take the required corrective action and rededicate ourselves to serve all the citizens of Lowell regardless of their position in life," Taylor continued in the letter.
"I am proud of be a member of this Police Department and I believe this incident is an aberration and not the norm."
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