lundi 8 février 2016


We Need Answers Now !
Demand Kentucky's Police release Gynnya's surveillance tapes
Join Us

Dear friend,

Last week, Gynnya McMillen’s brother asked you to join his family in demanding that Kentucky Juvenile Justice Commissioner Bob Hayter release the surveillance video and provide answers for his sister’s death. Those who knew Gynnya describe the sixteen-year-old as a “quiet, beautiful person”.1 Although, no one has been held accountable for her death, Reginald Windham, the detention staffer overseeing Gynnya, has since been placed on paid leave and his records indicate a history of negligence and use of excessive violence toward youth in the center.2 So, why is Gynnya barely receiving any press coverage?
It has been proven that violence toward Black girls and women receives significantly less mainstream media coverage3. Even the devastating death of Sandra Bland didn't initially receive the coverage it deserved. Gynnya’s case is very similar to that of Sandra Bland, who should have been celebrating her 29th birthday this past Sunday if profiteer-driven Waller County jail system hadn’t taken her life. It was the advocacy of our members and activist across the country, that pushed Sandra’s case to the forefront of mainstream media attention. We must do the same for young Gynnya.
Thursday will mark a month since Gynnya was found dead, and very little information has been given to the family. In the past, delays like this often result from a cover-up -like the extreme delay in releasing the video footage of seventeen-year-old LaQuan McDonald being unjustifiably shot to death in Chicago.Kentucky State Police have refused to release Gynnya’s surveillance tapes, and used this flawed, irrational reasoning:
We feel it would be irresponsible to release the video until we have a full conclusion of what happened. We need all of the information, not just part it
-Sergeant Michael Webb5
What Sergeant Webb fails to acknowledge is that the police already have all the information. They and the two state departments that are performing the investigation of Gynnya’s death, are the only one’s that have access to all the case documentation, including the video and audio recordings. Therefore, one must question what Sergeant Webb meant by saying they need all of the information and whether it is not the information they need, but more time to obscure the truth. Just a few weeks ago police claimed that no “foul play was involved”.4 However, with detention staffer Reginald Windham's violent work history and the police’s refusal to release pertinent information, we know that something isn’t right.

Peace and Thank you,



1. "Teen girl Gynnya McMillen Dies in Kentucky Juvenile Detention few details released," CBS News 1.18.2016

2."Detention Center Staffer In Gynnya McMillen Case Has A History Of Negligence And Excessive Force," BuzzFeed 02-05-2016

3.News Coverage of Violence against Women: Engendering Blame," News Coverage of Violence Against Women: Engendering Blame 9.18.1996

4."Attorneys: Chicago cops falsified witnesses' accounts, threatened them," CNN 1.9.2016

5. "Elizabethtown teen's mysterious death gains national attention," WHAS11 2.4.2016


What happened to Gynnya ?
Demand Kentucky's Juvenile Detention Center release unedited surveillance tapes and provide answers for Gynnya's death
Join Us

Dear friend,

Gynnya McMillen is my sister. On January 11, she was found dead in her room at a juvenile detention center, just one day after she arrived. Gynnya was a healthy sixteen year old, and the police have given us very little information about her death. Troubling media reports are now making it clear that my sister’s time at Lincoln Village Detention Center was filled with violence and neglect.
We are being told to trust the same police who have withheld information and initially dismissed the notion of foul play. We need to know what happened to Gynnya now. We know that there’s surveillance video of Gynnya that might provide answers – but so far, the police are refusing to let us see it.

Since Gynnya’s death, we have been calling on the detention center to explain what happened and were told that there was nothing to explain about my sister’s passing.1 The state police even told the press that after interviewing everyone involved, they ‘didn’t expect that foul play was involved’ -even though they admitted that they couldn’t confirm if Gynnya was properly monitored or why she was left in a room by herself.2
Last Friday, disturbing details from Gynnya’s time in the detention center started coming to light. It was reported that upon arrival, multiple detention staff immobilized Gynnya using a martial-arts hold after she refused to take off her sweatshirt. It was also found that the center neglected to perform protocol 15 minute check ups on her.3Even once they discovered she was not breathing, the center nurse did not immediately begin resuscitation.After realizing Gynnya was unresponsive, they waited 11 minutes, had a conversation with police and, finally, the nurse began performing CPR.4 
Since these revelations, several juvenile justice advocates have expressed alarm at the way Gynnya was treated.5 It was Gynnya’s first time going to a juvenile detention center and although she had no prior criminal history, a court-designated worker made the decision for Gynnya to be entered into the criminal justice system instead of less traumatic options, such as myself or her many uncles, aunts and cousins who loved and supported her.3 However, as with adults, Black youth who have not been convicted of any crimes are placed in detention centers at higher rates for similar crimes as their counterparts. Also, Lincoln Village receives government funding per day for each child they have in custody. There are so many suspicious factors surrounding the death of Gynnya, and we need answers now !

No child’s life should ever end after entering a detention center. No family should have to go this long without knowing what happened to their loved one. Please stand with me, the rest of Gynnya’s family and the Kentucky community in calling for justice.

Thank you,

Greg, Gynnya McMillen's Brother


  1. “Vigil held outside juvenile detention center where teen died,” WLKY 01.01.2016
  2. “KY officials offer few answers after Gynnya McMillen’s death,” CBS News 1.20.2016
  3. “Alarms’ missed the day Gynnya McMillen died, experts say,” CBS News Jan 28 2016
  4. “Audio: CPR started 11 minutes after staff found Gynnya McMillen,” CBS News 01.30.2016
  5. “Official: Detention staff used martial arts on Gynnya McMillen,” CBS News 1.29.2016
  6. “Racial Disparities in Sentencing” American Civil Liberties Union 10.27.2014

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