The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters have obtained cell phone video that appears to have been recorded by a juvenile in custody at the Bridgeport Juvenile Detention Center.
In the video, the young man who shot it appears to have done so from inside a locked cell and in a common area. None of the staff appear to have any idea that he has a phone or is recording video.
Phones are prohibited and considered contraband by the agency that runs the Bridgeport Juvenile Detention Center.
The Troubleshooters could not determine when the juvenile shot this video or how he got the phone inside. But it was posted to Facebook in March this year.
Gary Roberge, the executive director of the Court Services Support Division of the Connecticut Judicial Branch, the agency overseeing the juvenile detention centers in Bridgeport and Hartford, declined to go on camera to discuss the matter, and said he could not discuss specifics because this involves a juvenile.
Via phone, Roberge told the Troubleshooters that whether it’s the courts or police taking juveniles into custody, ”whoever does it is supposed to pat down and cuff the person, and put all their items into a safe place until they depart.”
State Senator Len Suzio (R- Meriden), who serves on the state Juvenile Justice Policy and Oversight Committee, or JJPOC, watched the video and is now demanding answers.
“I am absolutely certain the people in charge of the facility will be flabbergasted by that. That is a shocking video. It could just as well have been a weapon. If he can sneak something like this into a facility, then I mean we know that there’s knives and things like that that are far smaller than that and could be more dangerous even,” Suzio said.
The Troubleshooters also showed the video of the juvenile inside his jail cell to State Representative Toni Walker (D - New Haven), chairwoman of the JJPOC committee.
“I think what we have to do is find out how did he get it,” said Walker.
When asked if she had concerns that instead of a phone, the juvenile could have smuggled in a knife or gun, Walker replied, “Right now this is a kid, who’s on a spree he has got a phone and he’s taking pictures. And he’s doing it just to create mischief and trouble.”
Suzio said he wants a full investigation of how this juvenile got a phone in his cell.