Two 18-year-old men were arrested after assaulting officers with the Guam Department of Youth Affairs, according to a magistrate’s complaint filed in the Superior Court of Guam.
With this incident, community concerns surfaced on whY DYA is housing clients over the age of 17.
Michael Weakley, the acting director of DYA shared that in certain cases the youth detention center can house clients up to 21 years of age.
“However, there are certain circumstances where an individual may be above 17 but still has an unresolved juvenile case,” said Weakley, during an interview with the Pacific News Center. “Because the juvenile case has not been resolved, that individual by court order can be remanded to the Department of Youth Affairs.”
He said that adult and minor clients are separated.
When an incident like this occurs, standard operating procedures are enforced, according to Weakly, which are separating clients and officers, and reassigning officers to avoid contact from one another.
He noted this incident is under investigation.
As PNC reported, Guam Police Department officers responded to reports of a riot just before 8:30 p.m. on April 16 at DYA’s facility in Mangilao.
The incident involved minors, adult clients, and DYA officers.
Court documents state that when an officer was assisting a client, the client became angry towards the officer, began to damage a window, and head butted the officer.
Four DYA officers tried to secure clients into their cells, including Danson Jona, 18.
Jona threw a small plastic trash can, pushed a table and punched a DYA officer.
Surveillance footage later reviewed by officers shows Timo Palik, 18, throwing two shoes at officers while he was secured in a cell.
Jona admitted to throwing the plastic trash can to an officer, admitted to breaking pieces of a plastic pipe from a privacy screen and throwing it to DYA officers.
During an interview with officers, Palik’s mother was present. He told officers and his mother, “I only threw my shoes at the guard during a fight.”
Jona was charged with assault on a peace officer as a third degree felony, and criminal mischief as a misdemeanor.
Palik was charged with assault on a peace officer as a third degree felony.