ColorOfChange

Help fund a private investigator for Gynnya McMillen

Goal thermometer

Finally, after 2 months of demanding more transparency around the in custody death of 16-year-old Gynnya McMillen, we learned that the Kentucky Juvenile Justice Department will release her unedited surveillance video. This should be a celebratory moment, however, there are still a number of unanswered questions and questionable information coming from the state.

First, the department claims that due to a “camera malfunction”, the video being released will not include key footage showing whether excessive force was used on Gynnya when five detention staffers performed an Aikido martial arts restraint on her. Second, the state claims that Gynnya died due to a heart condition that can be triggered by physical and emotional stress, but refuses to even consider that her death resulted from her treatment at the hand of the Kentucky juvenile justice system.

Can you chip in to hire an investigator to look for the truth about Gynnya McMillen’s death?



We hired an investigator to help uncover the truth in this case.
 Last year, when ColorOfChange members funded an investigator to look into Sandra Bland’s death in custody, it uncovered corruption and conflicts of interest in the official investigation into Bland’s death.

From the start, our strategy has been to shine a light on what happened to Gynnya and it has been working. In the immediate aftermath of her death, investigators from the state claimed there was no foul play and tried to sweep the case under the rug. As we have worked with Gynnya's family and local activists, we have been able to force the state to admit that Gynnya was placed in the restraint, that she was not properly monitored, and that detention center staff failed to perform CPR in the required amount of time, partly due to their admitted ignorance of the CPR protocol. Ultimately, the Juvenile Justice Commissioner and a top aide were forced out.

Yet, so many questions still remain as to what really happened when Gynnya stepped foot into Kentucky’s Lincoln Village Juvenile Detention on January 11, 2016. Activists on the ground began calling for justice for Gynnya in January and are not letting up anytime soon. In small and rural places, Black folks fighting for racial justice are often ignored and under resourced, but we are investing in local efforts to get justice for Gynnya. We are partnering with the Blackout Collective to provide the training and organizing needed to obtain answers for Gynnya and ensure that no other child will have to experience this tragedy.

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