Footage Shows Workers At Recently Shuttered Migrant Children's Center Slapping, Dragging And Manhandling Children
Staffers may not face criminal charges.
January 02, 2019 at 4:38 pm
According to The Arizona Republic, the Hacienda Del Sol shelter in Youngtown, Arizona, was closed in October after the federal government suspended the shelter's operations, citing failure to follow regulations.
Reports state the center did not provide background checks to the proper federal agencies. State health agencies threatened to revoke all of the center's 13 licenses if workers were not retrained properly. There is no evidence the actions seen in the videos caused the shutdown.
A number of videos obtained by the outlet show staffers being physically aggressive with the children. One video captures a male staffer dragging a child who was laying on the floor and blocking an entrance simultaneously.
Another video shows a female worker forcibly guide a child through a conference room and intensely pushing and dragging the young child. BuzzFeed reports the footage was collected from security cams in September, a month before the shelter was shuttered. Local authorities are not pushing for criminal charges against the workers.
"While physical force and restraint techniques were used against these minor children, these actions did not rise to the level of criminal charges," the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said last Friday.
— azcentral (@azcentral) December 29, 2018
The techniques seen in the footage are permitted in accordance with state law, Sgt. Joaquin Enriquez told the Republic.
However, state health officials declined to comment on the content of the videos. The case will be handed off to the Maricopa County Attorney's office.
"Based upon the evidence gathered during this thorough investigation, [Maricopa County Sheriff's Office] executive command has made the decision to submit the case to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office for its review and determination of criminal charges," Enriquez told BuzzFeed News in an email statement.
The Southwest Key non-profit has also been accused of misappropriating federal funds according to a New York Times investigation.
An Arizona Southwest Key employee was charged for molesting eight boys.
"We are simultaneously engaging the Child Welfare Consulting Partnership to do an independent, top-to-bottom review of our processes, procedures, hiring and training in our Arizona Shelters," a Southwest Key statement read.
Several reports have detailed harsh living conditions in detention centers including freezing temperatures and children being drugged without parental consent among other mistreatment. In recent months, two migrant children have died in the custody of border patrol since the large caravan from Central America arrived late last year.
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