NewsTreasure CoastRegion Okeechobee County


10 arrested following 'riot' at youth facility in Okeechobee County

Staff member taken to a hospital for injuries
Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office logo
Posted at 3:49 PM, Jan 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-23 15:49:15-05

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY, Fla. — A situation at a youth facility, described as a "riot" by the Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office, resulted in the arrest of ten detainees Saturday.

Deputies responded to the incident at the Everglades Youth Academy, located at 5050 Northeast 168th St., in the early morning hours of Saturday.

Officials said detainees at two units at the facility were "actively rioting" and fighting staff, causing damage by throwing desks and chairs and tearing down the cameras and light fixtures.

When they arrived, law enforcement entered the compound, and all youth detainees were placed inside their secured rooms.

Deputies said the rioters were identified by staff members, separated by law enforcement and arrested.

The sheriff's office said one person resisted law enforcement while being detained, and a chemical agent was used to assist in his arrest.

A total of 10 detainees were arrested for various charges ranging from rioting to battery on staff and transported to the Okeechobee County Jail.

Authorities said those arrested will be held without bond, two of whom were minors, and were later transferred to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

One staff member from the Everglades Youth Academy was taken to a hospital for injuries, while others were treated on scene and released.

The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice website describes the facility as a maximum-risk program serving men and boys between the ages of 13 and 21. The program provides delinquency intervention and mental health treatment services to residents.

This incident comes only hours after eight juveniles were caught after escaping SandyPines juvenile treatment facility amid a "riot" Friday night.