MILWAUKEE COUNTY — A correctional officer attacks a child inside the Milwaukee County Juvenile Detention Center.
FOX6 Investigators show you the video that’s never been released. Plus, the alarming lack of action by supervisors and administrators who knew all about it.
The juvenile guard was fired and charged with a crime last summer for an incident that happened more than two years ago.
It was all caught on video.
So why did top brass at the juvenile detention center sit on the evidence for so long?
First, consider the evidence leaked to FOX 6 News. Two videos captured the same day — January 12, 2016 — show juvenile correctional officer (JCO) Brandon McAfee using force against a youth in detention.
One of those videos led to criminal charges against McAfee.
“Completely unprovoked!” said Sheldon Wasserman, a member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, as he viewed the video for the first time. “Just attacks the guy.”
McAfee was a correctional officer at the Vel Phillips Juvenile Justice Center in Wauwatosa, where surveillance cameras show him lunging at one of the juvenile inmates in a hallway of the detention center and unloading a flurry of fists.
“It’s shocking,” Wasserman said.
A source familiar with the case tells FOX6 News the tension started earlier that same day when the same juvenile was involved in a classroom brawl, which was captured in a second video also provided to FOX6.
While fights among youth in the detention center are not uncommon, what happens when McAfee enters the room is indeed unusual.
The video shows one correctional officer tossing a juvenile to the ground. As he sits, facing away from McAfee, the correctional officer picks up a chair and thrusts it into the back of his head, causing the youth’s head to move in jarring fashion.
“Holy crap!” Wasserman exclaimed, upon seeing the chair video. “You don’t throw chairs at people. You’re a big guy, you’re throwing a chair at a teenager? I mean, the guy’s on the ground!”
Mark Mertens, the Director of Delinquency and Court Services for Milwaukee County, has seen these videos before.
Five hours after the classroom incident, McAfee is seen shoving and punching a juvenile in the hallway, without any apparent provocation. This second video eventually prompted criminal charges against McAfee.
“It’s very serious to me, it’s something that we cannot tolerate and won’t tolerate,” he said. “I’m responsible for these youth. They’re here in my care. I take that very personally. And my staff take that personally,” Mertens said.
Mertens says incidents like this are “extremely rare,” so it only makes sense that when they happen, everyone in the facility would know about it.
The McAfee incident happened in January of 2016.
According to a criminal complaint filed against him last summer, supervisors at the detention center did not discover it had happened until December of 2016 — 11 months later.
“What happened during all this time?” Wasserman asked.
“I can’t really speculate about things that happened before I got here,” Mertens said.
Mertens — who was hired two months after the incident — says no one showed him the video until several months after he came on board.
Kevin Gilboy has been there for 28 years. But he only recently became superintendent.
“In the detention center while I am in charge, that type of situation will not happen,” he said.