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Video Shows Teen Violently Beaten By Probation Officers At Juvenile Hall
We've known for a while that L.A. County's Juvenile Hall system is in pretty bad shape. Earlier this year, a report put together by the L.A. County Probation Commissioners compared conditions inside the decaying lockup system to that of a 'third world country prison.'
Video obtained by WitnessLA.com from sources inside the Sylmar Juvenile Hall location does little to dispute that claim. The video shows four probation officers beating a single teenaged inmate, apparently unprovoked, while a fifth person, reportedly a jail supervisor, looks on. The beating took place on April 24, 2016 at L.A. County's Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall.
KABC picked up the story, and spoke with Celeste Fremon, WitnessLA's editor. Fremon explained to KABC how Juvenile Hall has been under scrutiny for alleged violence and poor conditions for years. This video simply underscores that point even more.
The video, parts of which can be seen on KABC's site, shows the teenager first inside his cell with the jail supervisor. They exchange words of verbal conflict, the supervisor rolls up his sleeves, then leaves the cell, closing the door behind him. The teenaged inmate throws a large object and a milk carton against the cell's door.
After a bit later, the supervisor returns, bringing with him three other jail officers. The inmate's body language is relaxed and complicit, but the four officers start violently beating him after just a few seconds. The beating is violent, and protracted for over a minute, during which another probation officer enters the room to, apparently, hold the boy down.
During the beating, another supervisor enters the cell briefly, before leaving again. Then, after about two minutes of abuse, the supervisor who was first talking with the teenager motions to the four officers who were beating the inmate to leave the cell. They all exit.
We're left with a view of the teenager splayed across his cot inside the cell. He attempts to pull up his pants which were removed in the beating, and then tries and fails to stand up. The remainder of the video purportedly shows him, then, just lying on the floor of the jail cell.
WitnessLA reports that once probation authorities learned about the beating, they transferred the teenager to Juvenile Hall's Eastlake Detention Center in Boyle Heights, extended mental health treatment to him, and launched an investigation into the incident.
When KABC reached out to the county's probation department for response, the county's probation chief, Cal Remington, responded:
"We hold our staff to a very high standard. We have zero tolerance for mistreating the juveniles in our care. And while I can't really comment on an ongoing investigation, this matter is being thoroughly investigated, and we take matters of this nature very, very seriously."