A fight at a Bronx teenage detention facility Wednesday resulted in 20 correction officers suffering minor injuries, according to the officers' union. It came just days after teenage inmates were transferred from Rikers Island to the center.
Elias Husamudeen, the president of the union, the Correction Officers' Benevolent Association, said the fight broke out earlier this morning at the Horizon Juvenile Center on Brook Avenue in Melrose.
Sources said officers were injured while breaking up a fight between the teenagers at the center.
The union said one teenager grabbed the radio of a correction officer and hit him in the head with it during that scrum. The officer was placed in an ambulance, but his injury was not described as life-threatening.
Earlier in the day, Mayor Bill de Blasio said centers like the Horizon facility would be beneficial for young detainees in the long run, but added that those who act violently will face consequences.
All Rikers Island inmates who were under the age of 18 had to be transferred by Monday to the Horizon facility as part of a new policy under the "Raise the Age" law, which means people under 18 will no longer be prosecuted as adults in New York state. As a result, the city was required to transfer more than 90 inmates from the Rikers jail to the Horizon facility by that deadline.
The correction officers' union has railed against that move, particularly the mandate that its officers cannot use pepper spray at the facility.
Husamudeen said the melee Wednesday shows the Horizon facility is not ready to house teenager inmates. The union said they are violent, and said it fears the teens will kill an officer one day.
"The incident that happened today is an incident between gangs. Regardless of their age. We can call them kids, we can call them whatever they want," Husamudeen said. "This place has to be shut down until this could be made safe. It needs to be shut down. It wasn't ready October, and it's not ready today."
Some advocates, however, have complained that the officers are violent.
The brawl comes after emergency crews responded to a call that Monday that four officers were hurt in a fight with some teen inmates, although paramedics left without any patients.
The correction officers' union has for months slammed the mayor, saying he is not taking the dangers the officers face from inmates seriously.
Correction officers asked a state judge this week to stop the city from forcing them work at Horizon and are waiting on that decision.