LOWELL -- The mother of the woman who died of alcohol poisoning in Lowell Police custody said she is "fit to be tied" and promises to "stir up a hornet's" nest since learning three of the five superior officers implicated in her daughter's death have agreed to less-severe punishments in exchange for forgoing lengthy and costly appeals hearings.
Alice Swiridowsky-Muckle, the mother of Alyssa Brame, learned of the deal from Police Superintendent William Taylor late Monday afternoon, the same day news of the deal broke. Swiridowsky-Muckle spoke to The Sun from her home in Terryville, Conn.
"I am just fit to be tied," Swiridowsky-Muckle said. "I am not happy at all. If it's the last thing I do I will make sure the Lowell police officers responsible for my daughter's death are held accountable.
"Lowell needs someone like me, a hornet, to go up there and stir up a hornet's nest until the police officers responsible are held accountable," she said. "I'm not sure how I'm going to do it, but I will."
Arrested on Appleton Street on a prostitution charge late on Jan. 12, 2013, Brame would be dead early the next morning, her death raising concerns of police neglect while she was behind bars.
Just week's after Brame's death, Swiridowsky-Muckle acknowledged her daughter "wasn't an angel."
"She was far from it," the grieving mother said at the time. "But there is no reason why she couldn't be treated with the dignity that any person deserves."
The officers who have apparently accepted the city's offer are:
The three member Board of Inquiry that investigated Brame's death found Giuffrida was in a position to see Brame semiconscious and conscious. He was present, for example, when Brame was "mumbling or talking incoherently" and a few minutes later, when she lay unconscious.
* Sgt. Francis Nobrega. Also facing a one-year suspension, Nobrega accepted the same deal as Giuffrida. The Board of Inquiry found that Nobrega was also in a position to see Brame semiconscious and conscious, including when she was "barely able to walk, bumbling or talking incoherently."
The report called it "troubling" that Nobrega "seemed inclined to blame the Police Department and/or the hospitals" for medical care not being provided to Brame.
* Lt. Michael Kilmartin, who was facing a demotion to patrolman, plus a one-year unpaid suspension, is now looking at a temporary, three-month demotion to sergeant, plus a 45-day unpaid suspension.
The board found that Kilmartin also saw Brame semiconscious and conscious, and was present when conversations took place as to whether Brame was sober enough to have committed the alleged sexual conduct for which she was arrested. Kilmartin had a duty to act, and provided "very little appropriate information" to other staff, the inquiry found.
The officers who rejected the city's offer are Lt. Thomas Siopes and Sgt. James Fay, both of whom Taylor wanted to fire.
To Siopes, the city offered a demotion to patrolman, plus a 180-day unpaid suspension. Siopes was the officer in charge when Brame was brought into the cellblock and was alerted to concerns about the woman's condition, the board found.
The inquiry board's report stated that Siopes, in particular, "tried to minimize the seriousness of Alyssa Brame's condition as being typical on every other time she came in the Lowell Police Department custody. Video evidence of the ten other occasions that Alyssa Brame was in the custody of the Lowell Police Department clearly refutes the assertion 'she was always like this.'"
When asked with all Siopes had learned since the death of Brame if he would look at his decision in a different light and have called for an ambulance, he stated "no."
To Fay, the city offered a demotion to patrolman for a year, plus a 60-day suspension. Fay, the board found, was in a position to see Brame in both a semiconscious and conscious state.
It was the city's motivation for resolving the case -- that long, protracted hearings could prove embarrassing to the city and the police department -- that Swiridowsky found most "appalling."
"Maybe Lowell and its citizens need hearings to straighten that police department out," she said. "If these deals go through, nothing changes. It's just appalling."
City Manager Kevin Murphy declined to respond to Swiridowsky-Muckle's comments.
However, Murphy said a meeting to schedule the hearings between the city's lawyers and lawyers representing Siopes and Fay is scheduled for Thursday
In a related topic, Murphy told the City Council Tuesday night that he has appointed Eric Slagle, Development Services director, as the hearings' officer. That means Boston lawyer Carolyn M. Murray, chosen as hearings' officer by Bernie Lynch in one of his last acts as city manager before he resigned March 10, is no longer needed.
"He is an attorney and he is also a fair person," Murphy said of Slagle.
Taylor did not return a telephone message or a text seeking comment. Taylor and Murphy inherited the Brame case, since her death occurred when Kenneth Lavallee was police superintendent and Lynch was city manager.
After news of the deal broke, Swiridowsky-Muckle's lawyer, Howard Friedman, of Boston, shared his thoughts.
In an email, he said: "Because the Lowell Police Department, while initially recommending severe sanctions, drop the sanctions down to very short suspensions they set a precedent for the department. In Lowell failing to provide medical care for a prisoner whose life depends on prompt medical attention will not be subject only to a 15 day suspension. It would be better to hold the hearings and defend the discipline."
Friedman, who specializes in police brutality cases, added in an email: "If a parent had a child in the condition Alyssa Brame was in and simply let her lie in bed without calling for an ambulance, the parent would be charged with manslaughter for the death of the child. Once the police had Alyssa in custody they were responsible for her well-being, no one else could get her medical attention. The failure of trained police officers to take any action should have resulted in more severe punishment."
Follow Scott on Twitter @cscottlowellsun.