SWAT team, SLED agents respond to disturbance at DJJ facility in Columbia

State - Regional

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW) — The South Carolina Law Enforcement confirmed Wednesday that a SWAT team and other agents responded to a disturbance at the Department of Juvenile Justice Broad River facility.

In a statement, Ryan Alphin, the executive affairs director for SLED, said “order was quickly restored” after the disturbance.

WLTX, a CBS-affiliate in Columbia, reported on its website that two students were treated for minor injuries after the incident. The report said they were able to get several keys but never left the facility’s living quarters.  

“SLED had a limited response from our SWAT team and regional agents,” Alphin said. “SLED did not use any less lethal force to include rubber bullets or tear gas.”

According to WLTX, the Department of Juvenile Justice houses more than 400 children in five secure facilities across the state, including 66 at the Broad River facility as of Friday. The facility has had serious staffing shortages and security concerns for months.

The incident comes a day after News13 published a report about an investigation into how criminal allegations are handled at the state’s detention center. SLED found that some instances of DJJ misconduct could have been investigated better but found no evidence of underreporting or not reporting criminal activity.

The review found that most incidents are allegations of juvenile-on-juvenile assaults and the use of force by juvenile correctional officers. Force most commonly happens when juveniles are restrained or separated when they’re in a fight and don’t obey a correctional officer’s commands.

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