No charges in death of Priscilla Slater, who died in Harper Woods Jail in 2020

The Wayne County Prosecutor has ruled no charges will be filed in the death of Priscilla Slater, who died on June 10, 2020, while in police custody in Harper Woods.

Prosecutor Kym Worthy's office released a statement that there would be no charges filed against anyone for Slater's death and that she died of natural causes while in custody.

"She was cogent and appropriate when speaking with the police and jail staff and did not complain of any medical issues while she was in the jail. There was no evidence that she was in any way harmed or mistreated while in custody. This case investigation took an extraordinary amount of time and attention due to a number of circumstances outlined in our press release," Worthy said.

According to the prosecutor's office, after an exhaustive search by the Michigan State Police, a review of facts and evidence, and information from both the Wayne County Medical Examiner's office and an independent medical examiner, it was determined she died a natural death from sudden cardiac death

"In other words, a heart attack while she was in jail.  She had significant pre-existing factors that likely contributed to the heart attack," Worthy said.

The prosecutor said there was insufficient evidence to prove that the civilian aide on duty when she died failed to perform his duties or was negligent in her death. She also said that there's no way to know if medical intervention would have saved her life after her heart attack.

"I have met with Ms. Slater’s sister to explain our decision in this matter. While our thoughts and prayers are with Ms. Slater’s family, for the reasons cited no charges will be issued," Worthy said.

Slater, 38, died in the Harper Woods Jail on June 10, one day after being arrested on a drug charge. In the days after her death, 6 Harper Woods employees were placed on leave after her death. In August of 2020, the city announced it had fired two officers in connection with her death, saying the two officers "concealed and manipulated evidence" in connection with her death. 

Dr. L.J. Dragovic, the Oakland County medical examiner, said in November the heart theory "nonsense" after reviewing an autopsy report at the request of the Detroit Free Press. Dragovic suggested that, due to the condition of her liver, she likely died from alcohol withdrawal.

Harper Woods has been targeted by protesters who want more information. Ken Poynter, referring to the criticism, resigned as mayor in July after saying he understood "why white people would become white supremacists." He apologized for the remark.

State police investigated Slater’s death and gave a report to the Wayne County prosecutor. A report from the county medical examiner suggested the death was related to her heart