Corrections officers hurt in brawl at center housing teen inmates from Rikers

Twenty corrections officers were injured early Wednesday after a fight broke out in the juvenile detention center where 16- and 17-year-old inmates had been moved from Rikers, a union official said. 

The fight apparently broke out in the school area of the Horizon Juvenile Center in the Bronx, said Correction Officer’s Benevolent Association spokesman Michael Skelly. The fight comes just days after the city’s Administration for Children’s Services said 93 minors had been moved to Horizon over the weekend in time for the implementation of the Raise the Age legislation. 

Skelly could not provide details on what caused the fight or how many minors were involved, but blamed the correction officers’ inability to use pepper spray — unlike at Rikers — as a reason the fight got so out of hand. He said this was the third violent incident since the weekend.

"They’re violent inmates, this is their normal. These are 16- and 17-year-olds so violent that they can’t be let out. They’re in for serious charges," he said. "And now without pepper spray, their only option was to use physical force and this is the result." 

Throughout New York on Monday, the age of juvenile delinquency was raised to 17 years old. It will be raised again to 18 years old on Oct. 1, 2019, according to the governor’s office. Newly arrested 16-year-olds will be housed at the city’s other juvenile detention center, Crossroads, in Brooklyn, according ACS.

“We are in a transitionary period for a historic reform that’s never been done before and there have been some incidents involving youth and officers, which were quickly addressed," ACS spokeswoman, Chanel Caraway, said in an email. "None of the injuries were serious, but we take these and all incidents seriously.”