The assailants hit Sgt. Joseph Forrester in the head with a chair and repeatedly punched him in the face during Tuesday’s incident at the Horizon Juvenile Center.
The detention facility is run by the Adminstration for Children’s Services and houses suspects as young as 10 while their cases are pending.
“I don’t know why it happened. I’m just trying to make myself well,” Forrester said from his bed at Lincoln Hospital.
He said he had been working security at the facility for nine years and took the job because “it was working with kids, a good thing, trying to make a positive change.”
He said he had been told not to talk about the attack, but his cousin, Christopher Forrester, 50, said the teens deserved to “pay the price.”
“These kids should be given a stiff penalty so it doesn’t happen in the future,” he said.
Sources said the blowup began because the suspects were upset with how much food they were being served.
Forrester, 39, was trying to break up an assault in which Randy Estevez, 16, punched a counselor in the stomach, authorities said.
That’s when Kevin Rivas, 16, flung a chair at Forrester, striking him in the back, Assistant District Attorney Joseph Shmulewitz said at an arraignment.
Leon Smalls, 16, picked up another chair and threw it at Forrester, hitting him in the head.
Bryan St. Fleur, 14, Michael Mendoza, 16, and Anthony Mashburn, allegedly punched Forrester in the face, and he was bleeding profusely and convulsing when paramedics arrived.
Estevez was charged with misdemeanor assault for punching out the counselor; and the other five were charged with assault, gang assault and assault on a peace officer.
A spokesperson for ACS condemned the attack. “The incident at the Horizon Juvenile Center was an unprovoked assault on one of our sergeants by six young people who were detained for allegedly committing serious crimes. Our staff works every day to protect and maintain safety for the young people in detention and our workforce, and violence against either is taken very seriously.”
The prosecutor said the attack was captured on videotape even though petroleum jelly was placed on a second camera to obscure the lens.
Lawyers for the defendants had no comment on the charges.
The injured sergeant’s friend, Divine Brooklyn, 42, said the boys were likely at Horizon on minor charges and had now graduated to major crimes.
“Wherever they go I think they are going to have plenty of time to think about what they’ve done, especially when they roll with the big boys,” Brooklyn said.