State questions Polk sheriff’s office response to riot - FOX 13 News

State questions Polk sheriff’s office response to riot

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LAKELAND (FOX 13) -

After touring the Avon Park Youth Academy, the Secretary of Florida's Department of Juvenile Justice sized up the incident as vandalism.

That's in stark contrast to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, who was there the night it happened.

He sees it differently.

"When I arrived, I saw it with my own eyes. I know a riot when I see a riot. It was a riot," Sheriff Judd told FOX 13 on Tuesday.

That's not the only difference in perspective between the two.

Secretary Wansley Waters says pepper spray should not be used on juveniles.

"It's not the best practice of juvenile justice to provide pepper spray or tasers, and we won't have that," said Waters.

Judd says if the staffers at the facility had pepper spray, they would have been able to stop the violence before it got out of control.

Waters also questions something else.

At an afternoon press conference she questioned why the Polk Sheriffs Office called for staffers to be evacuated.

Grady says her staffers retreated on their own, which is heard on a 911 call.

The first teen teen involved in the incident has been charged.

17-year-old Charles Smith faces a number of felonies.

Judd says many more detainees are going to be charged as well.

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