An Aikido restraint may have caused a detained teenager’s death, at the Lincoln Village Juvenile Detention Center, the victim’s family is now speculating.
Gynnya McMillen, aged 16, was apprehended by law enforcement on January 10, following a domestic dispute which took place at her mother’s house, in Shelbyville, Kentucky.
Based on an evaluation made by a court-designated worker from the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice, McMillen was taken to the Lincoln Village Juvenile Detention Center, after being accused of misdemeanor assault.
At the facility located in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, the teenager showed resistance as she was being booked by a Lincoln Village worker.
Normally, the booking stage usually entails creating a record of the suspect’s name and charges, taking a “mug shot” and fingerprints pertaining to the alleged perpetrator, carrying out a full body search and bringing personal items and clothes into custody.
However, on this occasion McMillen didn’t want to have her hoodie removed, so that her photograph can be taken and the pat-down inspection can be conducted.
That’s when the facility’s employees decided to use an Aikido restraint, hoping that this martial arts technique would allow them to subdue the teenager, and complete the booking process as planned.
Eventually, shortly following the Aikido restraint, McMillen was brought to her cell, and spent the night there, failing to react in any way when personnel tried to bring her food at 6:30 a.m. and then at 8:17 a.m. and 8:53 a.m. The troubled teenager also remained silent and passive when her mother tried to contact her later that morning.
Eventually, at 9:55 a.m., she was finally visited by a sheriff’s deputy, who was supposed to accompany her to court. That’s when it was discovered that McMillen was actually unresponsive, having stopped breathing and appearing unusually cold.
It took 9 minutes for Lincoln Village staff to finally alert 911 and ask for an ambulance to be sent to the facility.
After another minute and a half, CPR procedures had still not begun, the nurse making the 911 call being heard telling the dispatcher that she had recently been employed at the detention center, and she hadn’t been familiar with current protocols.
Resuscitation efforts only began at 10:07, 12 minutes after the girl was found unconscious, and after another 8 minutes McMillen was pronounced dead at the scene by a paramedic field supervisor.
It hasn’t yet been revealed if a defibrillator was employed during CPR, and now McMillen’s deceased body is being examined by a forensic pathologist, in order to determine the exact cause of her death.
Preliminary results which have recently been released revealed no signs of obvious physical injuries, and no evidence of drugs in the girl’s system.
Apparently, at the moment officials insist that the teenager probably passed away as she slept, although the factor that triggered her untimely demise remains a mystery.
Meanwhile, McMillen’s family has been deploring the behavior Lincoln Village personnel before the girl’s booking and especially afterwards.
According to Dana McDuffie, the fiancée of Greg Mitchell, the victim’s brother, the young girl should’ve been periodically checked on by the facility’s staff, and resuscitation procedures shouldn’t have been delayed for so long.
Indeed, given the fact that McMillen was kept in isolation throughout the night, her condition should’ve been monitored every 15 minutes, if internal regulations at Lincoln Village had been followed.
Currently, Reginald Windham, the facility worker who should’ve conducted these checks but failed to do so, is on administrative leave, but still receiving pay and benefits as before, while the investigation into McMillen’s death is being conducted, and surveillance camera footage is being analysed.
Also, Lincoln Village officials have rejected accusations regarding the fact that staff failed to realize something was amiss when the teenager didn’t react in any way when attempts to wake her up were made.
As administrators insist, given McMillen’s prior behavior, workers most likely believed that the girl was giving them the silent treatment, probably still upset following the earlier Aikido restraint manoeuvre.
On the other hand, Michele Deitch, senior lecturer in juvenile justice policy at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, has argued that the use of martial arts when trying to overpower and subdue the young girl was completely out of place.
As Deitch explained, teenagers from correctional facilities should be restrained solely when they physically threaten others or they’re about to commit self-harm.
Even in these circumstances however, Aikido restraint holds and similar moves shouldn’t be performed, because their impact might be unpredictable and even prove deadly.
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