Skip to main content

Kentucky Prison Guards Waited 11 Minutes To Give Dying Black Teen CPR (Video)

A new report and a 911 audio recording (video below) show that prison guards waited about 11 minutes to perform CPR on Gynnya McMillen, a 16-year-old African-American who died at the Lincoln Village Juvenile Detention Center in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, on Jan. 11.

CBS News notes that the staff found McMillen in her cell not breathing when a deputy arrived to take her to court at 9:55 a.m.  McMillen had been at the detention center for less than 24 hours.

It took nine minutes for the staff to call 911 at 10:04 a.m.  When the 911 operator asked the nurse at the detention center (about 90 seconds into the call) if CPR was in progress, the nurse said, "No, it's not."

The 911 dispatcher asked the nurse if they were going to attempt CPR, and only then did the nurse tell the staff, "They want us to start CPR."

The 911 dispatcher asked the nurse if she had the CPR protocol, and the nurse responded: "I'm new, I can find out, I don't know."

CPR finally began at 10:07 a.m. on McMillen, who was declared dead eight minutes later by an EMS supervisor.

No official cause of death has been released, but local officials have previously suggested that the teen died in her sleep.

Stacy Floden, a spokesperson for the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice, confirmed to CBS News via email on Jan. 29 that the detention center staff had used a martial arts move on McMillen on Jan. 10.

"The staff performed an Aikido restraint hold to safely conduct a pat-down search and remove the youth's hoodie," Floden stated. "The purpose of having multiple staff involved in a controlled restraint is to ensure the safety of the youth and staff."

The teen's "repeated refusal to cooperate with staff and remove her outer garment prompted the restraint," Floden added.

"I've never heard that phrase used in the context of a corrections setting," Michele Deitch, a lawyer and juvenile justice expert, told the news network.

"As far as I'm concerned that is a completely inappropriate use of a restraint," Deitch added. "This goes back to not being so punitive with kids. That's not just how you interact if you want to achieve a positive social response."

McMillen's death is being investigated by the Kentucky State Troopers and the Justice Cabinet's Internal Investigation's Branch.

Reginald Windham, a detention center employee, was put on administrative leave on Jan. 29 for reportedly not checking on McMillen every 15 minutes, which is required when a minor is held in an isolation cell, says

McMillen's sister LaChe Simms has set up a Justice For Gynnya McMillen page on Facebook, which has called for answers in her sister's death.

Sources: CBS News (2),, / Photo Credit: LaChe Simms via Facebook Screenshot

Popular Video