I-Team: Another Teen in Secure Juvenile Detention Facility Posts to Facebook Despite Phone Ban

Adolescents who have committed crimes, including rape and murder, before their 16th birthdays are housed in detention centers run by ACS; staffers say the Brooklyn facility is out of control

What to Know

  • The city’s Administration for Children’s Services operates two detention centers -- Crossroads in Brooklyn and Horizon in the Bronx
  • Adolescents who have committed crimes, including rape and murder, before their 16th birthdays are housed in the secure facilities
  • Phones and cameras are banned, but the I-Team has now found at least two teens have been posting photos and livestreaming from inside

A teenager in a "secure" New York City juvenile detention facility posted a livestream video on Facebook from inside the building, despite a strict ban on cellphones and other electronic devices.

It’s the latest security breach at Crossroads, a facililty in Brownsville, Brooklyn, that houses adolescents whose crimes occurred before their 16th birthday. The Administration for Children’s Services operates Crossroads and another facility, Horizon, in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx.

Insiders identified the teen as 17-year-old Raheem Thompson, who is awaiting trial for an alleged robbery in Manhattan. He has pleaded not guilty.

Thompson, who uses the name "Chewy Gzz" posted the video several months ago, and continued to post photos from within the facility as recently as July 30. 

An ACS spokesman, Jose Bayona, said, “Personal cellphones and other wireless devices are considered contraband, an illegal activity that we do not tolerate. We have been taking measures to combat contraband through the use of cellular detecting equipment, among other methods.”

He said the agency is investigating.

The I-Team discovered that other teens have also repeatedly posted pictures from inside Crossroads. One of them, a 16-year-old accused murderer named Jyheim Dickerson, who goes by the name "Jah Lo," posted photos of himself wearing civilian clothes and smoking a substance. Teens are required to wear uniforms and smoking is not allowed. Dickerson is also awaiting trial and has pleaded not guilty.

Several current and former counselors told the I-team that staff members are afraid to tell on residents for fear of retaliation. Said one counselor who didn’t want to be identified, “They can do what they want, they can say what they want, they can assault who they want to assault. There’s no control.”

Said former counselor Victor Silva, “It happens because if you say something, then the kids will attack you or the administration will side with the kids.” 

In a prior interview the Executive Director, Louis Watts, defended the management, saying that counselors are given proper support.

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