It started as a fight between several girls in a locked psychiatric facility in Pembroke Pines over a friend being “jumped,” police said. By the time officers arrived at the state-licensed Citrus Center for Adolescent Treatment Service, close to 30 young patients were screaming, throwing soap on the floor, pounding on the walls and brawling with each other and up to seven staff members, according to police reports.
The April 28 incident ended with an officer punching a mentally ill 14-year-old girl in state custody in the face. The previously publicized punch, caught on surveillance tape, and allegations of broader misuse of restraints at the facility have prompted a Rep. Katie A. Edwards, D-Plantation, to ask a legislative committee to look into conditions at the institution.
“I was appalled when I saw the surveillance video,” Edwards said. “You have a young lady who’s in there and has behavioral or mental health issues. I don’t see how it’s rehabilitating her to have an adult law enforcement officer punch her in the face.”
Edwards wants the House Health & Human Services Committee to review rules about the application of force, seclusion and physical and chemical restraints at state-licensed psychiatric institutions for young people.