Video shows riot at Ohio juvenile detention center

The riot caused an estimated $200,000 in damages and boosted calls for reform to the facility

By Adam Ferrise
Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland

CLEVELAND — Body camera video released Friday shows a riot earlier this month at the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center that caused an estimated $200,000 in damages and boosted calls for reform to the facility.

Six teens-- one 14-year-old and the rest 15 years old -- face several felony charges in connection with the Jan. 8 incident.  

The riot was planned and started about 7 p.m. when one inmate gave a signal to other teens in a jail pod, officials said.

Inmates used broken metal furniture to smash security glass and damaged cell doors, sprinklers, the ceiling, showers, toilets, light fixtures, a television and windows, according to a Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department report.

The sheriff's department SWAT team was called to calm the situation. One inmate picked up a shard of glass and threatened to stab a SWAT officer, officials said.

It took the SWAT team roughly three hours to get everything under control, according to the sheriff's department report. They used an electric saw to slice through the security glass so they could give orders to the inmates. 

An inmate and a SWAT officer suffered minor injuries during the incident.

One inmate charged Thursday was in the detention center on charges that accuse him of firing gunshots at a rival group Nov. 24. Stray bullets struck and killed Abdel Bashiti, a 12-year-old boy who was helping his father at a nearby beauty supply store on East 116th Street at Buckeye Road.

Five other inmates were being held on aggravated robbery charges.  

The riot sparked renewed calls for reform of the Juvenile Detention Center. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O'Malley and County Councilman Michael Gallagher suggested allowing the sheriff's department to take over operations at the facility.

Juvenile court judges operate and manage the detention center. The sheriff's department runs the adult Cuyahoga County Jail.

A 14-page sheriff's department report completed in November and released to says the detention center suffers from "significant flaws" that permeate all levels of the facility's daily operations.

The report found the detention center lacks a master computer system that tracks inmate history, does not keep records of inmates suspected of gang ties, and lacks a special response team to respond to emergencies. It also found the detention center lacked leadership, has no clear disciplinary structure for inmates and fails to enforce rules and policies.

Officials have said reforming the detention center is necessary because of the high volume of violent juvenile offenders being housed there.

©2018 Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland

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