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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Who Killed Gynnya McMillen ?

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.4 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.
We need to know what happened to Gynnya now. We know that there’s surveillance video of Gynnya that might provide answers – will you stand with us and demand it’s release?

Peace and Thank you,

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