Broward News

Massive Juvenile Detention Center Riot Started Over Soup

A massive riot broke out at Avon Park Youth Academy juvenile detention center on Saturday night.

The riot, which sparked two fires, and caused hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage to several buildings throughout the facility, was apparently started over a couple of cups of soup, according to reports.

Seven teens were injured in the melee, including one who suffered a broken leg.

According to Polk County Sheriff's officials, the riot started after a wager between two teams in a pick-up basketball game went sour.

Two five-on-five teams from St. Petersburg and Orlando apparently bet each other three Cups of Noodles soups. But when the losing team refused to pony up their soup winnings, a fight broke out which eventually included teens that weren't even involved in the game.

The fight escalated and spilled into a full-on riot that destroyed eighteen of the twenty buildings at the facility.

Teens were able to take a guard's radio, some of the staff golf carts, and set fire to one of the buildings which reportedly contained the detention center's inmates' records.

Roughly 150 law enforcement officers, including K-9 and SWAT units, responded to the riot, and were able to calm things down and bring the madness to an end within a few hours. But 64 of the 138 teens were taken to county jail, though they were kept from the adult inmates.

Avon Park Youth Academy houses teens aged from 16 to 19 and is a moderate-risk residential program that provides education and vocational training.

Staff at the detention center, however, are forbidden from using pepper spray, or other special equipment, which in hindsight could've come in handy to help quell the uprising.

Seven teens were reportedly taken to Florida Hospital in Sebring with injuries, including one with a broken leg, and another teen with a concussion.

No staffers or law enforcement officials were injured.

Follow Chris Joseph on Twitter

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph