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Civil rights group wants video in death of black Kentucky teen

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Reuters) - A civil rights group on Thursday demanded the release of surveillance video from the Kentucky juvenile detention center where a 16-year-old black girl died the day after she was admitted.

In an online petition signed by nearly 53,000 people, urged state officials to release unedited video footage from the Lincoln Village Juvenile Detention Center near Louisville, where Gynnya McMillen was found unresponsive on Jan. 11.

“Gynnya’s family and community members deserve to know if protocol was followed when handling Gynnya while she was alive and after she was found unresponsive,” McMillen’s brother Greg Mitchell, who started the petition on Feb. 2, said in a statement.

Officials at the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet and Governor Matt Bevin’s office were not immediately available for comment.

State officials have said investigations into McMillen’s death should be completed soon, and they will share those findings with family members and eventually the public.

Late last week, the state fired an employee at the center who had been suspended for failing to conduct the required checks on McMillen. The state also fired Bob Hayter, who was commissioner for juvenile justice. said a nurse at the center waited more than 10 minutes before trying to resuscitate McMillen. It also noted that guards used a martial arts technique on her after she refused to take off her sweatshirt during processing.

It was not clear whether McMillen was injured during the alleged incident.

McMillen had just spent her first night at the facility in Elizabethtown, about 45 miles south of Louisville. Police in Shelbyville, located 30 miles east of Louisville, arrested the teen the day before after an altercation at her mother’s house.

Medical examiners continue to conduct genetic and toxicology tests and said this week that a final autopsy to determine the cause of McMillen’s death might not be available for up to three months.

Reporting by Steve Bittenbender; Editing by Ben Klayman and Lisa Von Ahn