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Justice sought after beating of juvenile center inmate

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Updated: 5/01 9:11 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- A 14-year-old boy is grabbed and punched in the face by a juvenile detention assistant in Clark County, while the boy is being booked into detention.

It's been more than one year since the incident, and still no charges from the Clark County District Attorney’s Office.

Coming Wednesday: Was this attack an isolated incident, or is it part of a bigger problem with the juvenile detention center? On News 3 at 5.
Janice Robinson, the boy's mother, shares details about what happened and her frustrations at the inaction.

“I was disgusted,” she said. “How can they do children like this? They're supposed to be the courts that are helping kids, and they're abusing them. How can this happen?”

It's been a tough year for Janice Robinson. Her now 15-year-old son, Jawaun, is living two-and-a-half hours away from his family at a Juvenile Justice Center in Caliente. He was arrested for burglary more than a year ago and booked at the Juvenile Detention Center in Las Vegas in February 2012.

While being booked, he was assaulted by a juvenile a detention assistant responsible for enforcing the law.

“The officer looked at him and struck him in the face and kind of roughed him up,” Robinson said. “Punched him and roughed him up against the counter. … That's not the way that you disciplined as a child.”

Attorney Dan Winder is representing Robinson. He describes the actions in the video.

“Young Mr. Robinson is standing there with his head down, hands in his pocket, appearing not to be doing anything of consequence,” Winder said.

“As a former prosecutor myself, I wish I would have had this amount of evidence to go forward with cases that I prosecuted successfully. Rarely are you lucky enough to have a video that clearly shows criminal activity.

Jawaun complained, told his mom and filed a report but the case went nowhere and has yet to be prosecuted. In fact the Clark County district attorney's office told Winder it has no record of ever getting the case, even though Metro looked into it.

It's been more than a year, and the statute of limitations for battery has run out. But it hasn't for child abuse.

“In no instance, even under the color of authority with adults, is anyone in law enforcement given a blank check to abuse anyone who's in custody,” Winder said.

Winder also wonders why others in the video did not intervene.

“And the mandatory reporting requirement is a way of making sure that incidents of abuse, physical, mental, verbal, sexual are properly investigated and the children are protected,” Winder said.

Today the case is back at Metro, and the DA's office awaits the results of its investigation. In the meantime, Robinson has put in a claim to the county seeking $200,000.

Robinson is frustrated her son remains in the system. And 14 months later, she wonders if it's retribution for speaking out about the attack. Still, she keeps fighting, hoping someone will hear her.

Clark County officials will not discuss personnel matters, but News 3 has learned the juvenile detention assistant who assaulted Robinson is no longer working, and his last day was two months after the assault.

Everyone else in the video is still employed by the county.


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