NEW YORK — Using glass shards from a broken window as weapons, a group of teens held three staff members against their will at a Bronx juvenile detention center this week, law enforcement sources told the Daily News.
The disturbance in Hall G of the Horizon Juvenile Center on Brook Ave. near Westchester Ave. in Mott Haven erupted Monday evening when several teen detainees got angry and tension built because lunch had arrived late that day, law enforcement sources said.
The teens threatened three staffers — a 24-year-old man, a 30-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman — and prevented them from leaving the area, police said. One of the teens snapped off the antenna from a radio while waving a sharp object, said cops.
Police officers responded and gained access to the facility about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Eight teens were arrested — a 16-year-old, five 17-year-olds and two 18-year-olds. They face multiple charges, including riot, menacing, assault, illegal weapons possession and unlawful imprisonment.
A rep for Teamsters Local 237, which represents Horizon staffers, said the incident began about 9:30 p.m. After breaking the window, the teens used broken glass and broom handles to hold the staffers hostage and snatched their radios and their keys, the rep said.
Just three Administration for Children’s Services police officers and one sergeant were on site for 74 teens in the center, the union representative said. NYPD officers were prevented from entering the facility for several hours, said the union official.
The staff at Horizon has been on 12-hour tours for some time, and tensions are a constant thread in the facility, which is under a federal monitor.
“When they don’t let the cops in, it looks bad,” said a former Horizon staffer. “When police come in, it means they lost control of the situation.”
“There are numerous questions here that include the deputy commissioner superseding the authority of the ACS Police on duty requesting the assistance of NYPD,” said the Teamsters official. “There needs to be in immediate state and federal investigation into the actions of ACS supervision.”
Administration for Children’s Services spokeswoman Marisa Kaufman said only an “incident” took place and did not provide any details.
“The safety of the youth in our care and our staff is of the highest importance to us at ACS,” Kaufman said in a statement.