Since the deaths of seven year-old Jakelin Caal and another eight year-old Guatemalan boy who died in U.S. custody, Customs and Border Patrol is being investigated for these tragic deaths. However, abuse of children being detained at the border continues and Mr. Trump can only blame it on Democrats as evidenced by his tweets on Saturday.
On Saturday, it was reported that videos were obtained of staffers dragging and pushing children at a migrant shelter in Southwest Key, Arizona. The videos were obtained by The Arizona Republic from the Arizona Department of Health. According to AZ Central:
‘Southwest Key had reported the mid-September incidents, which involved three children and numerous staffers at the Youngtown shelter, to state authorities, as well as local law-enforcement and federal officials, but declined to publicly provide details at the time.’
The shelter, Hacienda del Sol was closed in late October. AZ Central reported:
‘That came in the wake of negotiations with state health authorities over potential revocation of all 13 licenses that Southwest Key holds in Arizona, because of the company’s lapses in background checks for staff.’
One surveillance video documents a male worker dragging and pulling a boy into a room, and then slapping and pushing him against a wall. The staff person appears to be flinching away when the child hits him. Then, the staffer leaves the room and the child can be seen retreating to a corner and then pounding on a window in a door to an adjacent room.
According to AZ Central:
‘A second video shows a female staffer hustling a child through a conference room, then dragging the child into an adjoining room because the child had lain down and tried to block the doorway with their legs. It is unclear from the edited video if the child is a boy or girl.’
While this incident is happening, another worker is seen pulling a child into the same room. All of the other workers go about their business seeming oblivious to what is happening. The third video obtained shows a disrupted classroom setting but the image is blurry and the actions cannot be made out.
The state agency blurred the faces of the children in the video to protect their privacy. AZ Central reported:
‘It’s unclear if the incidents directly prompted the federal intervention. The videos were from Sept. 14, 17 and 21, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, which investigated the incidents.’
Sgt. Joaquin Enriquez said in a statement:
‘(T)he investigation determined that while physical force and restraint techniques were used against these minor children, these actions did not rise to the level of criminal charges.’
Enriquez said that state law permits the use of restraining techniques seen in the videos although state officials did not comment.
Southwest Key had also been under pressure from state regulators to over failing to ensure that all of its employees were properly background checked. The health department threatened to revoke the licenses of all 13 Southwest Key shelters.
As a result of settlement talks, Southwest Key agreed to close two shelters in exchange for the state dropping its revocation threat. One of them was the Youngstown facility where the incidents captured on video happened.
Featured image is a screenshot from YouTube