Kentucky’s commissioner of its Department of Juvenile Justice Center and an employee at the juvenile detention center were terminated amid the investigation that has been launched onto Gynnya McMillen’s death in a local prison cell.
Commissioner Bob Hayter was fired for his not informing his higher-ups that an employee who was suspended for the investigation had a long past of disciplinary problems. Hayter held office since 2014.
Ten days after 16-year-old Gynnya McMillen was found dead in her cell, Reginald Windham, a supervisor at the Lincoln Village Juvenile Detention Center, was placed on special investigative leave for failing to check on the girl every 15 minutes, as required at the center for juveniles who are isolated. Windham also falsified reports, claiming to have made the checks, according to documents first obtained by BuzzFeed.
‘Before news accounts late Friday, the Justice Cabinet was not made aware that the employee’s work record included previous disciplinary actions,’ Justice Cabinet spokeswoman Lisa Lamb said in an emailed statement. ‘While these disciplinary actions were not connected to the death, they reveal a pattern of unacceptable behavior for someone who supervises youth.’
The story is quickly gaining traction; McMillen’s family and sympathizers to the Black Lives Matter movement are frustrated at the lack of information that has been released on McMillen’s Jan. 11 death. It was revealed that a martial arts move was used on McMillen by a male juvenile detention center employee to restrain her after she refused to take off her clothes.
Staffers also failed to check on McMillen for three-and-a-half hours on the day that she passed, even though she didn’t respond to food offerings or a phone call from her mother. The most shocking element in the story is that McMillen wasn’t immediately resuscitated when staffers found her unconscious.
The spokesperson for Kentucky’s Justice Cabinet, Lisa Lamb, claimed that two investigations on McMillen’s case will soon be concluded. The Hardin County Coroner’s office has requested help from the Mayo Clinic to do genetic testing in McMillen’s autopsy, a process that could take up to 12 weeks.
A petition on ColorofChange.org has garnered over 42,000 signatures demanding that videos depicting McMillen being put into an “Aikido restraint” by the detention center employee be released. CBS’s investigative news program, “48 Hours” has put forth a request for the videos to be released as well, though they were rejected by the Justice Cabinet because of “confidentiality statutes” and “facility securities.”
Read more on the story at CBS News.