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Youth took over Baltimore County juvenile treatment center in Christmas Eve uprising, police say

Youth committed to a privately run Baltimore County treatment center took over the facility in what state police described as a “riot” on the morning of Christmas Eve, police said in court records.

The previously undisclosed incident occurred at the Chesapeake Treatment Center, a privately-run addiction treatment facility on the grounds of the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School. State troopers were called to the facility by a staff member, and said they encountered “juveniles and adults conspiring to overtake” the center.

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“Furniture was being destroyed, windows were broken [as well as] door locks and doorway frames,” police wrote in charging documents. “A locked ‘nurse’s station’ was breached by breaking a window and various controlled narcotics, syringes and medical supplies were taken.”

In a statement, the center’s executive director, Sandra Whitney, said damage was “relatively limited” and that “several patients incited others to potentially dangerous disruptive behavior.” She said police were called “stabilize the situation and prevent further escalation.”

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Troopers at the Golden Ring barrack requested additional units from the JFK and Bel Air barracks, as well as Baltimore County police and a state police operations team in order to “retake the facility,” police wrote in court documents.

Police said 19 detainees were involved in the uprising. Seven have been charged as adults with rioting, second-degree escape and malicious destruction of property and were ordered to be held without bail at hearings yesterday, records show.

Though it is within the fenced-in grounds of the Hickey school, the Chesapeake Treatment Center is not a detention facility and instead provides mental health services to youth in DJS custody.

Eric Solomon, a spokesman for DJS, said Tuesday that no youth or staff were injured in the incident.

“DJS is working closely with Maryland State Police and Chesapeake Treatment Center to fully investigate this incident,” Solomon said in a statement.

Police wrote in charging documents that they first received a call from a nurse practitioner at the facility on Dec. 24 at 12:15 a.m.. The staffer said that youth were staging a protest by sitting outside their rooms, refusing to follow orders and pouring water on the floor. The nurse told police that the protest was “beginning to be intimidating and increasingly becoming aggressive,” according to charging documents.

An hour later, the barrack received a second call from the staffer who said that the detainees had broken into a locked medical supply room, stolen narcotics and also broken into a secure music room, where they found a baseball bat. She said some had climbed onto the facility’s roof.

Whitney, the executive director, said the program was conducting its own investigation of the incident.

The youth charged as adults were committed to the facility on charges across the state: Baltimore, Prince George’s, Anne Arundel, Caroline, Frederick, Charles and Montgomery counties.

The Prince George’s County youth was previously charged as adult with motor vehicle theft and assaulting a law enforcement officer. The Baltimore County youth had been charged as an adult with armed robbery. The Charles County youth was charged with robbery with a deadly weapon and assault. All of those cases were waived to juvenile court, but remain in the electronic case search database.

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