LOWELL -- The FBI is investigating whether federal civil rights violations were committed by several police officers the night a woman died in Lowell police custody last year, sources told The Sun.
The FBI's probe began in recent weeks and the agency has requested documents from the city pertaining to Alyssa Brame's death in a Lowell cell block last January, including the internal Police Department report on the incident.
The Police Department's three-member Board of Inquiry that reviewed the incident found that those police officials responsible for Brame at the station went 66 minutes without checking on her -- more than double the required length -- as her condition worsened.
Brame, who had been arrested earlier in the evening and allegedly offered sex to an undercover officer, died of alcohol poisoning.
Special Agent Greg Comcowich, an FBI spokesman, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday afternoon.
The city's Board of Inquiry found that Lt. Thomas Siopes, Lt. Mike Kilmartin, Sgt. James Fay, Sgt. Frank Nobrega and Sgt. Mike Guiffrida violated department policies in their handling of Brame. All but Siopes accepted less-severe departmental punishments in exchange for forgoing the appeal process.
Siopes' disciplinary hearing began last week. The hearing is in hold until Aug. 19 when Police Superintendent William Taylor is expected to resume his testimony.
Eric Slagle, the city's director of Development Services, is serving as hearing officer and can recommend anything to City Manager Kevin Murphy from no discipline for Siopes to termination. Murphy does not have to stand by Slagle's recommendation.
Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan's investigation last year into Brame's death determined that criminal charges were not warranted against the officers.
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