I-Team: Tapes reveal untold story of rampage in juvenile jail

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CLEVELAND-  The FOX 8 I-Team has obtained law enforcement radio tapes revealing what you haven’t heard about an uprising inside the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage.

It happened Monday night, and the Juvenile Court initially referred only to some vandalism.

But the radio tapes reveal the scene as Cuyahoga County sheriff’s deputies and Cleveland police scrambled to the scene. On the recordings you hear: “I got glass broken everywhere, and they’re using chairs.” “Be advised, they are now picking up glass threatening to stab us when we come in.”

“… they have a possible riot in house 4. Four deputies 50 juveniles fighting.”

“The juveniles are throwing cleaning products on the floor, so it’s gonna be slippery.”

Video and pictures obtained by the I-Team also revealed heavy damage. Taxpayers are furious because they will pay for the repairs.

It took 3 hours and a SWAT team to take back control, and the tapes show concerns teens might escape and more. You hear: “They’re asking that you guys step it up. It’s getting worse out there.” “We’re gonna stage ‘em (officers) on the outside of the recreation yard, so if they do escape onto the the rec area we can contain them in the rec yard.”

What happened has had the I-Team investigating was the complex prepared for big trouble? Sources from multiple police agencies tell me they can’t remember going there for any drill or training to handle a riot or crisis. And the union for detention officers can’t either.

“They call those children over there residents, but they’re not. I call them prisoners,” said Joe James with Local 860. In fact, two of the prisoners involved have been locked up and accused of murder. James said the union asked months ago for more training in case of a riot or significant problem, but the county hasn’t provided it. He added, “Well, we want a procedure. We want to know how our members can act when a situation like this occurs.”

Cuyahoga County prosecutors plan to file charges possibly against a dozen teen inmates for what happened. The I-Team has learned some inmates went into a rage when they were told they had to go into lockdown.

The chief judge of the Juvenile Court will not sit down and answer questions for the I-Team, and the court has been slow to answer written questions.

Continuing coverage.

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