2 Harper Woods police officers fired for concealing, manipulating evidence in death of woman in custody

Two officers were terminated Wednesday night for violating police department "policy and procedure" in connection to the death of a woman being held in custody, according to a city attorney.

Deputy Chief John Vorgitch and Patrol Officer Michael Pineau "concealed and manipulated evidence" said John Szymanski, the Acting City Manager. 

Pricilla Slater

Priscilla Slater was arrested June 8 and died June 10. The Harper Woods Department of Public Safety said the 38-year-old was found unresponsive in a holding cell. Medics tried to revive her, but it was too late. Police said medics immediately tried to revive her - but couldn't. 

Szymanski released a statement that Michigan State Police are still investigating Slater's death.

"As you know, the death of Ms. Priscilla Slater resulted in a great deal of activity within the City of Harper Woods," Szymanski said. "There were protests, unfortunate comments made by our former Mayor and, of course, an ongoing investigation by the Michigan Department of State Police regarding the cause of death of Ms. Slater. There was also a promise, by City Officials, to remain transparent and accountable to residents for all the circumstances surrounding this matter.

"Unfortunately, our City has discovered that members of its Police Department attempted to conceal and manipulate evidence in the “in custody death investigation” of Ms. Pricilla Slater. As a result, the City has immediately terminated the following Police Officers:Deputy Chief – John Vorgitch and Patrol Officer Michael Pineau.

"The investigation by the Michigan Department of State Police is still ongoing in this matter."

Slater was initially brought into custody on gun charges in connection to a shooting at a Harper Woods motel where Detroit man Lewis Nichols was arrested and charged in the shooting. 

Her death sparked outrage and protests as her family demanded answers and hired high-profile attorney Geoffrey Fieger.

RELATED: Emotions boil over at protest for Black woman who died in Harper Woods police custody

"She just didn't die from a heart attack, she laid on a floor and died - why didn't anybody help her," Fieger said. "The indifference of the authorities, the powers that be, to black lives is astounding. It doesn't happen to rich white people." 

Last month Harper Woods Mayor Kenneth Poynter resigned after pressure mounted following a comment he made in a private meeting that he understands why a white person would become a white supremacist.

 Fieger says Slater was arrested late Monday night and found on Wednesday afternoon. He believes something does not add up. 

RELATED: Family of woman who died in Harper Woods police custody wants answers

"There is no possible way that police taking care of her, would not see someone was in a serious medical need and obtain medical help," Fieger said. "She didn't just up and die in the jail. She was there for 36 hours."

Stay with FOX 2 for more on this developing story