Warning: The video may be disturbing to some viewers.
KINGSBRIDGE, The Bronx — A staff member whose job it was to protect young people at a detention facility has been arrested for the beating of a 15-year-old, in an attack captured on surveillance video.
Now that the arrest has happened, investigators are trying to see if the officer may have abused other teens in his care.
Gregory Hyman, 60, was charged with assault, endangering the welfare of a child, criminal obstruction of breathing and blood circulation, and harassment for the beating of the teen resident at the Sheltering Arms detention facility here.
Hyman was arrested and charged last Tuesday for the beatdown, which took place in the late night of January 5 of last year. That’s a 20-month gap between the alleged crime and the arrest for it.
“The fact that it didn’t lead to an arrest [of Hyman],” said John Scola, an attorney for the teen, “tells you how common that [kind of abuse] actually is.”
“The fact that [Hyman] would do this and not get arrested until now shows problems in the whole system,” said John Scola, an attorney for the teen.
“There is no doubt in my mind,” said Manuel “Manny” Gomez, a private investigator, “that this is a systemic practice there.”
Gomez was able to secure a copy of the video from prosecutors. “Other kids have been beaten. This is the norm,” Gomez told PIX11 News.
“But this time,” he continued, “we’ve got it on film, to prove what’s going on there, unequivocally.”
For its part, the city’s Office of Adult and Children’s Services issued a statement late Monday afternoon that read, “ACS and our contracted providers take all allegations of workplace violence with the utmost seriousness. Upon learning of this incident, leadership at Sheltering Arms Children and Family Services took swift action, reporting the incident to the NYS Justice Center and immediately terminating the employee involved in this disturbing incident.”
That report to state authorities led to a recommendation that the Bronx district attorney’s office open a criminal investigation.
The D.A.’s office told PIX11 News that it opened its investigation in June of last year, but because it couldn’t easily access eyewitnesses to the incident, it wasn’t able to make an arrest until August 17, 2016.
The teen’s legal team doubts that account. They say that if Gomez had not been able to procure a copy of the surveillance video, the case may have never seen the light of day.
In addition, they told PIX11 News, the video shows another worker at the facility preventing other residents from trying to stop the apparent beatdown.
“We want to do whatever it takes to stop this from happening again,” Gomez said. It is not confirmed whether or not the other worker seen in the video is still employed by the operator of the facility.