61 charged in Avon Park youth riot - WNCN: News, Weather

61 charged in Avon Park youth riot

Posted: Updated:
POLK COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

The Polk County Sheriff's Office has completed its investigation into the riot at Avon Park Youth Academy and charged 61 male residents of the juvenile detention facility.

The individuals, who are 16-18 years old, are all facing felony charges stemming from the August 17 incident authorities say was prompted by a wager over a basketball game. The teams of residents at the facility were playing for cups of noodle soup, but the losing team didn't pay up, the sheriff's office said.

At a minimum, each of the 61 charged faces rioting and felony mischief charges, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said at a news conference on Friday. Other charges include burglary and grand theft.

"These 61 aren't misguided children," Judd said. "These 61 are hard core thugs that were incarcerated by the DJJ."

Judd also said the riot was preventable, if staff had been able to have equipment such as pepper spray to get offenders under control. DJJ does not allow those items to be used at juvenile facilities, but Judd said that means those operating the facility had "no tools to deal with out of control thugs."

DJJ does not plan to revisit the issue of allowing pepper spray or chemical restraints, said DJJ spokeswoman Meghan Speakes. DJJ is planning to install security cameras at Avon Park Youth Academy, she said.

DJJ is doing its own investigation and has been interviewing staff at the facility, she said. The next step is to interview the teenagers who were there.

In a written statement released after the arrests were announced, DJJ Secretary Wansley Walters said "DJJ is committed to taking the lessons learned from the incident at Avon Park Youth Academy to ensure that the youth we serve are provided the right services, in the right place, in the right way, at the right time in order to fulfill our mission of reducing juvenile delinquency and increasing public safety."

  • NewsMore>>

  • Closing arguments to begin in Lakeland police officer murder trial

    Closing arguments to begin in Lakeland police officer murder trial

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 5:09 AM EDT2014-08-20 09:09:52 GMT
    Kyle Williams is accused of killing a police officerKyle Williams is accused of killing a police officer
    Closing arguments are set for Wednesday in the trial of a man accused of killing a Lakeland Police officer.
    Closing arguments are set for Wednesday in the trial of a man accused of killing a Lakeland Police officer.
  • Davis Islands shooting ruled non-accidental

    Davis Islands shooting ruled non-accidental

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 4:28 AM EDT2014-08-20 08:28:06 GMT
    The shooting scene on Davis IslandsThe shooting scene on Davis Islands
    Tampa Police officers are investigating a shooting on Davis Islands early Wednesday morning.
    Tampa Police officers are investigating a shooting on Davis Islands early Wednesday morning.
  • Sarasota Police to try body cams

    Sarasota Police to try body cams

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 3:42 AM EDT2014-08-20 07:42:41 GMT
    Body cameras are used by several law enforcement agencies in Florida but not many in the Bay Area. Sarasota Police announced this week they will begin using body cameras on police officers with a pilot program.
    Body cameras are used by several law enforcement agencies in Florida but not many in the Bay Area. Sarasota Police announced this week they will begin using body cameras on police officers with a pilot program.
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Morgue attendant admits to having sex with up to 100 bodies

    Morgue attendant admits to having sex with up to 100 bodies

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 2:30 PM EDT2014-08-19 18:30:56 GMT
    A federal court has made a ruling in connection with a disturbing case involving an Ohio morgue attendant who had sex with female corpses at work.
    A federal court has made a ruling in connection with a disturbing case involving an Ohio morgue attendant who had sex with female corpses at work.
  • Cops shoot and kill man in incident near Ferguson

    Cops shoot and kill man in incident near Ferguson

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 4:33 PM EDT2014-08-19 20:33:45 GMT
    Two St. Louis city police officers shot and killed a man who came within several feet of them brandishing a knife on Tuesday in a confrontation several miles from the turbulent suburb of Ferguson, authorities said.
    Two St. Louis city police officers shot and killed a man who came within several feet of them brandishing a knife on Tuesday in a confrontation several miles from the turbulent suburb of Ferguson, authorities said.
  • Dog saves newborn kitten, now pals for life

    Dog saves newborn kitten, now pals for life

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 2:33 PM EDT2014-08-19 18:33:17 GMT
    Roscoe was an injured, newborn kitten covered in maggots and pinned underneath a log, when he was found by Opie the dog. Imgur photo by Lia Spilka  Roscoe was an injured, newborn kitten covered in maggots and pinned underneath a log, when he was found by Opie the dog. Imgur photo by Lia Spilka
    A newborn kitten whose life was in danger when he was discovered by a curious pooch out on a walk, is now best buddies with the dog who saved him.
    A newborn kitten whose life was in danger when he was discovered by a curious pooch out on a walk, is now best buddies with the dog who saved him.
Powered by WorldNow

1205 Front St., Raleigh
N.C., 27609

Telephone: 919.836.1717
Fax: 919.836.1687
Email: newstips@wncn.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.