11/26/2013 12:28 pm ET

Apolinar Solis, Legally Blind Harlem Man, Dies From Fall At Manhattan Courthouse


The family of Apolinar Solis, a legally blind inmate at Riker's Island, is seeking answers after Solis died of injuries resulting from a fall down a staircase at the Manhattan Criminal Courts Building last Wednesday.

Solis was in the building to see a judge about his pending drug possession case. The New York Times reports that Solis had been staying in the North Infirmary Command on Riker's Island since Oct. 19, following his arrest on Oct. 18.

Before his arrest, Solis was living with his sitter Marisol Solis in Harlem. Solis had multiple health problems, including diabetes, and was largely sedentary since he also had balance problems, according to his family. The 51-year-old also received dialysis treatments three times a week.

Solis' sister Marisol told The Times that her brother would sometimes smoke marijuana to get his appetite up. However, WNYC reports that Solis was set to appear before a judge on charges of cocaine possession before he fell down the stairs last Wednesday.

After the fall, Solis was taken to New York Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital where he had surgery. That Friday he died as a result of his injuries.

Attorney Ilya Novofastovsky told the Daily News that city agencies gave no information to Solis' relatives and did not even inform them that Solis was hospitalized.

"The family is looking for answers," Novofastovsky told Gothamist. "What we're trying to get to is transparency from officials. The family wasn't even told he was in the hospital until somebody from the hospital tipped them off. And when they had questions for the powers that be, they were met with silence. It's been very frustrating. Their loved one was manhandled and died, and they simply want an explanation and information about what his last moments were like."

The Department of Corrections and the Medical Examiner are still investigating the incident.