Sheriff’s deputies working at an Elizabethtown, Kentucky juvenile detention are reported to have restrained a 16-year-old girl with an “Aikido” martial arts move, just before she died.
Prison officials say that the girl was restrained with the martial arts move when she refused to remove her sweatshirt during booking.
The mysterious death of the teenage girl has left many in the community pointing the finger at deputies and prison employees.
After being physically assaulted, the otherwise healthy teen was found dead in her cell only hours later, the next morning.
Local WDRB reports that Gynnya McMillen had been booked at about 2 a.m. on January 10, on a bizarre domestic violence related charge that occurred at her home. Though details of her arrest are sealed, it seems that she struck or shoved a family member at her home. Instead of dealing with the teen as a minor and trying to resolve the issue without an arrest that would ruin (and in this case, end) her life, the police took her in.
When she was booked, she said she didn’t see the reason for having to strip down.
“The staff performed an Aikido restraint hold to safely conduct a pat-down search and remove the youth’s hoodie,” the spokesperson from Lincoln Village Juvenile Detention Center said. “The purpose of having multiple staff involved in a controlled restraint is to ensure the safety of the youth and staff.”
WDRB notes that Gynnya’s last movements were seen on video, just before midnight on January 10th. That was right after the move was applied to her, but about ten hours before she was found unresponsive in her cell.
Some believe this implies a strong link between the martial arts move being used on her, and her death that followed soon after.
Prison officials claim that McMillen died in her sleep on January 11th, but they admitted that the restraint had been used on her the day before, after an online, social media campaign spread like wildfire, demanding answers.
So far, the autopsy has given no cause of death and notes no signs of trauma or drug overdose.
Hardin County coroner Dr. William Lee said in an interview with WDRB, that “it’s puzzling. You don’t see many healthy 16-year-olds die without a good cause.”
CBS News report that on Thursday Reginald Windham, a Lincoln Village Juvenile Detention Center employee, was put on paid administrative leave after failing to check on Gynnya every 15 minutes, as was required for all in isolation in the detention center.
(Article by Reagan Ali and M. David)