LOWELL -- The Sun is appealing to Secretary of State William Galvin's Office a public records request sent to Lowell police on March 2 in connection with the death of 31-year-old Alyssa Brame.

The Massachusetts Public Records law gives government agencies a maximum of 10 business days to respond to such requests. The request filed by The Sun on March 2 has now gone unanswered for more than 40 days.

Requests that are denied and requests that fail to generate a response can be appealed to the Supervisor of Records within Galvin's office anywhere from 10 to 90 days after being submitted to the relevant government agency.

Brame was found dead in a Lowell police holding cell in the early morning hours of Jan. 12, 2013, after she lay unconscious in the cell for more than an hour without being checked on in person, according to investigations conducted by the Middlesex District Attorney's Office and Lowell police.

An internal investigation into Brame's death conducted by a three-member Board of Inquiry revealed that detention attendants in charge of monitoring Brame had "little or no training," and did not have required medical certifications.

Five city police employees are facing termination or suspension in connection with allegations they neglected their duty and committed other infractions on the morning that Brame died.


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The Sun has obtained documents showing the patrolman's union had earlier expressed concerns to department commanders about patrolmen's inability to get copies of the policies and procedures that were allegedly violated the morning Brame died.

The Sun has requested copies of all investigative and internal-affairs reports created by Lowell police in connection with the Dec. 23, 2007, death of Walter Paine, who, like Brame, died while being held in a Lowell Police Department holding cell.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in 2002 in the case of Worcester Telegram & Gazette Corp. v. Chief of Police of Worcester that internal affairs reports are public records, since they are "different in kind from the ordinary evaluations, performance assessments and disciplinary determinations encompassed in the public records exemption for 'personnel (file) or information.' "

Thus far, the only responses received by The Sun came from Superintendent Bill Taylor, who acknowledged receipt of the newspaper's request and said he was working with the city Law Department to evaluate it.

City Solicitor Christine O'Connor has provided updates on the request by telephone, and in person at an April 15 City Council meeting, where she said police had supplied the Law Department with the relevant documents, but that those documents were subsequently lost.

Follow Robert Mills on Twitter and Tout @Robert_Mills.