Two Kentucky law enforcement officers involved in the mysterious death of 16-year-old Gynnya McMillen in Lincoln Village Regional Juvenile Detention Center were charged today, according to multiple reports.
Officers Reginald Wyndham and Victor Holt both face one count of second-degree official misconduct. This is a Class B misdemeanor that is punishable up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $250.
Atlanta Blackstar initially reported that Gynnya may have died from a martial arts move performed by one of the officers.
“The staff performed an Aikido restraint hold to safely conduct a pat-down search and remove the youth’s hoodie,” said Stacy Floden, a spokesperson for the center back in February. “The purpose of having multiple staff involved in a controlled restraint is to ensure the safety of the youth and staff.”
New information and reports reveal that the young girl may have had an irregular heartbeat. According to Kentucky public broadcasting radio station WFPL, “Gynnya died from a ‘sudden cardiac arrhythmia’ while sleeping in her room, according to Kentucky Justice Secretary John Tilley.”
Attorney Shane Young said the charges against Wyndham and Holt are connected to the missed bed checks and falsification of records surrounding the checks, not for allegedly harming the teen.
New York Daily News social justice writer Shaun King believes the two men killed the girl and that there may be a coverup.
There is evidence that backs up that claim.
There was video footage that captured her whole time in the facility. As the investigation into the incident began, the surveillance of her scuffle with staffers and her time in the shower were unaccounted for.
“The camera that could’ve captured the ‘restraint’ on her by staff was broken and had been reported inoperable earlier that week,” Tilley said.
Audio released from the incident suggests foul play as well. The officers were caught saying degrading and offensive things to the young woman hours before her death.
“You dumb-ass whore, you gonna spend the rest of your goddamn 2½ years in a goddamn insane asylum with the rest of the retarded kids,” one of the officers is heard yelling at Gynnya.
The timeline of the events reveal only one part of the incident. The Aikido restraint hold and how long she was restrained was not in the timeline of events. Here is the timeline in full:
Upon arriving at the facility shortly after 6 a.m. on Jan. 10, Gynnya refused to remove her hooded shirt so she could be searched. She was restrained, the garment was removed and she was placed in a room by herself — supposedly under constant surveillance.
Between 6:30 and 8:30 the next morning, Gynnya did not respond to two offers of food or to an invitation to accept a telephone call from her mother. The teen’s silence was consistent with her lack of communication with staff from the time she arrived, state officials have said.
The attempts to convey those offers to Gynnya were strictly verbal, according to the officials. Only when a deputy sheriff arrived shortly before 10 a.m. to take her to court was Gynnya found not to be breathing. Not long after, she was pronounced dead.
Although cabinet officials have said Gynnya “was under constant supervision through video surveillance of her room” during her time in custody, investigators later determined that an employee neglected to check on her, in person, every 15 minutes as required.
State officials have gone on record to say that the heart condition is what may have killed her instead of the illegal restraint method the officer used.