Police Abuse

Woman Dies in Police Custody, Cops Debated Whether She Was Too Drunk to be Charged With Offering Sex For Money, DA Rules Department Policies Violated, No Criminal Charges

Was 31 at the time


died in police custody
via the Lowell Sun

The District Attorney's office in Middlesex County, Massachusetts ruled that no criminal charges should be filed in the death of Alyssa Brame, who was arrested on January 12 for allegedly offering to perform a sex act of some kind for $40 and died of alcohol poisoning in a jail cell. The five (5!) officers who were on the scene at her arrest claimed she did not appear visibly overly intoxicated, but by the time she was taken to the police station she couldn't walk on her own, and cops there debated whether she was too drunk to be accused of offering sex for money. Via the Lowell Sun:

As that debate continued, only detention attendant Kevin Lombard asked whether someone should call an ambulance.

"Civilian Attendant Lombard did not feel that he was permitted to contact 911 for medical assistance himself," District Attorney Marian Ryan wrote in the report.

The report says a sergeant told Lombard no. Another commander told Lombard to simply "let her lay down."

According to Ryan's investigation, "police personnel determined that this was another one of those occasions where Ms. Brame was intoxicated and needed to sleep it off."

The DA report found that putting an unconscious person in a cell, as had been done to Brame, was against department policy, as was not checking on her every thirty minutes. It had been nearly an hour since police last checked on her when she was found dead. The third policy violation had to do with the personnel dealing with Brame not being CPR-certified.

The medical examiner ruled the death an accident, but noted it may have been possible to save Brame's life if there had been a medical intervention earlier. The DA report says Brane, 31, had been in police custody ten times before, nine of those while intoxicated. It also mentioned police were aware the city hospital believed they were sending too many intoxicated prisoners over. It's impossible to know whether Brane would have survived alcohol poisoning absent her encounter with police, but being thrown in a cage for making a harmless offer, in an environment where a concerned person would feel they weren't permitted to call 911 for assistance, certainly didn't help.

A police board of inquiry is now investigating the case.

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  1. A police board of inquiry is now investigating the case.

    Clearly, it would be premature to draw or propose any conclusion or opinion before the Peace Officers League concludes its comprehensive, thorough, exhaustive, total investigation.


    1. And they mostly get away with it… mostly..

      1. So what would it take to get these police boards disbanded, or at least circumvent their roadblocks?

        Under a typical police/city relationship, would a city have to refuse to renew their contract with the union in order to wrest control of officer investigations from the police board, and would that trigger some sort of mandatory arbitration process, thereby preserving the board’s powers?

        What can your average city do if there is sufficient constituent will for displacing these boards? What administrative options would be most effective?

        1. What can your average city do if there is sufficient constituent will for displacing these boards?

          Execute them and start over.

  2. “No Criminal Charges”

    I am so surprised.

    1. Criminal charges are for criminals. Cops don’t break the law, they enforce it.

  3. As a recovering alcoholic, I can tell you assuredly that a career drinker with a 0.31 BAC can show little signs of inebriation. Their tolerance is simply that high. A woman I know blew a 0.54 after being pulled over one night.
    However, police departments should NEVER place a passed-out drunk in a cell. The passed-out drunk should be taken immediately to an emergency room.

    1. Or, like we do in the Navy – someone is assigned to, literally, watch that person all night long. As in stay awake and keep an eye on the person and move them if they roll over on their back or vomit.

  4. Boy Ed, you sure pick some of the worst anecdotes to smear law enforcement. Yes, procedures weren’t followed. But criticizing the cops for letting some drunk “sleep it off” is a bit much here.

    And BTW, this is COMPLETELY FALSE:

    The five (5!) officers who were on the scene at her arrest claimed she did not appear visibly intoxicated

    That’s your complete fabrication. This is the original paragraph:

    Brame appeared to be intoxicated, but five officers who saw her on the street reported she was talking and joking with officers, who allowed her to finish her Dunkin Donuts coffee and smoke a cigarette while waiting for a prisoner-transport wagon.

    Which is a statement indicating that the officers didn’t find her unconscious and incapacitated. She was awake, alert, and communicating. That doesn’t mean that they thought she wasn’t shitfaced.

    FFS Ed, I hate it when you make me defend the fuzz.

    1. Your probably right… If there were actually *5* officers on scene, she probably would have gang raped, then shot/beaten to death for “resisting”…

    2. But from the time she finished her cigarette and coffee and was transported to the jail, she could have passed out or otherwise become more seriously intoxicated, and then was then put into a jail cell with limited observation. I think that is where the crime that was committed. I don’t think the apparently jovial nature of the arrest is really at issue.

    3. That just makes it worse then, doesn’t it? Fully alert and coherent girl taken into the custody of five men in an occupation known to have increased rates of violence is found inexplicably dead after all five men violated routine and mandatory handling of female merchandise.

      Remind me here on negligence. Was it ‘Duty of D.A.R.E.’ or ‘Duty of Care’?

    4. When you take a person into custody, you take responsibility for them. Arresting someone takes away their freedom to make their own choices. If you’re not going to take responsibility for the decisions you make on someone’s behalf, don’t force them into your care. That may seem like a raw deal in this instance, but these people are given a great deal of authority over others.

  5. This is a tough one. On the one hand, if she was crashing on someone’s couch and died from alcohol poisoning, no charges. But, when you are in custody, the cops have duties to you that your couch-owning neighbor does not. And those duties include providing needed medical care. But (again), I’m not sure that letting a drunk sleep it off is really criminal neglect.

    1. Had the cops not specifically placed her in a place that nobody could supervise her, she may not have died.

      If she chooses to die on a friends couch, well, that was her choice, and she probably has bad friends.

      1. Also, I guess she’s a bad friend for dying on their couch…

        Either way, just because she’s bad at being drunk doesn’t mean the cops should have effectively forced her to die through incompetence.

    2. I’m not sure that letting a drunk sleep it off is really criminal neglect.

      Precisely. Would anyone here have jailed Andy Griffith if Otis was found dead from alcohol poisoning?

  6. Don’t leave us in suspense. Did they shoot detention attendant Kevin Lombard’s dog?

  7. The Lowell cops are corrupt scum.

    I have personal knowledge of that fact (not as a victim but through some consulting work I’ve done for law firms).

    They are the sort of thugs who get off on bullying, and it’s only a matter of time before they beat someone to death for dissing them.

    They are precisely the type of guys who would sit in a bar getting drunk and bitching about not having had a chance to kill anyone yet.

    If you are ever confronted with a former employee of the Lowell PD, my recommendation is that you treat that with as being like a guy claiming he worked for the Winter Hill Mob or for the Mafia, and absent clear and absent convincing evidence that this person has turned their backs to a life of thuggery and bullying steer clear of them.

    1. The Lowell cops are corrupt scum.

      Well, yeah. They let joe roam the streets unimpeded.

  8. Typical Yankee. I hope she wasn’t some Massachusetts commenter’s gf or sister.

    1. WTF is that supposed to mean?

      1. I think he means yankees can’t hold their liquor.

  9. “It’s impossible to know whether Brane would have survived alcohol poisoning absent her encounter with police,”

    You know, odds are that if she had made it home she would have died anyway – which doesn’t excuse the PD. If you’re going to cage someone you have a pretty hefty burden of care you owe them.

    In the military we’re taught that you have complete responsibility for a POW’s health and safety from the minute you capture them – feed/water ’em, bandage them up, sanitation & hygiene, the whole 9 yards are your responsibility, and this for guys who may have been shooting at you minutes earlier. Why do we allow the police to get away with this stuff?

    1. The police never signed the Geneva Conventions, so you can’t really hold them to that standard.

      1. Oh I hope you’re just trolling me here.

    2. We were also taught that POW is a voluntary state – and any of them who flee or violently resist can be shot without consequences – so not a perfect analogy.

      1. 1. Where were you taught *that*?

        2. Yeah, yeah sadly, in this country that *is* analogous.

    3. Search, silence, segregate, safeguard, speed to the rear.

  10. While the cops’ behavior is beyond despicable in a moral sense, it’s hard to see what criminal charges would be appropriate. It’s not like the cases where cops beat the shit out of someone and leave them to die — her death was caused by her own behavior. They should definitely be disciplined, though.

    1. I’m wondering how exactly she did this. Did she chug grain alcohol right before meeting the cops? Or was her “coffee” really booze? Then the alcohol took effect while she was in custody?

      When I’ve had to deal with drunks on the street, it was a safe assumption that they weren’t going to get more drunk once they stopped drinking.

  11. Stupid punk cops, Off with their heads!


    1. Roll that bean footage/cop heads JidaKida! Rolllllll it

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