Family of teenager injured at DJJ facility asking for more information concerning incident
COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — Last week, an incident at the Department of Juvenile Justice’s Broad River Road Complex resulted in two youths going to the hospital.
This week, the family of one of the young men involved is asking for more answers.
“This is one beating too much. We want change in this facility,” said Elder James Johnson, founder of the Racial Justice Network.
According to DJJ, a group disturbance Thursday afternoon was brought under control in less than 15 minutes by staff. 16-year-old Divine Johnson was one of two individuals injured in the altercation.
“They say the fight broke out over a phone. How did a phone get back there? How did weapons get involved? Where was the staff? We need answers,” said Goddess Johnson, Divine’s sister.
“There were locks for lockers put in socks. That’s how he got beaten,” said the Racial Justice Network founder.
DJJ says that there were no fractures or major injuries to the youths involved but that two individuals were taken to the hospital.
“They need to have somebody watching them all the time. I’ve been in there before and I know that you can get killed back there. It’s dangerous back there,” said Paul Grant, Divine’s father. “That 15 minute stuff doesn’t work. They need to have an officer watching them at all times. Something needs to change.”
One of the individuals was released from the hospital, while the other stayed overnight for observation, according to a DJJ statement. The family of 16-year-old Divine Johnson recalls being able to briefly visit with him.
“He couldn’t even speak to us when we went to the hospital. He was moving his mouth and we couldn’t hear anything. That’s bad,” said Divine’s sister, Isis Johnson.
“He still looks like he’s in need of medical attention. He’s very much swollen, has bruises, skin missing, and hair missing,” said Candace Brewer, Racial Justice Network president.
DJJ confirms that SLED is conducting a full investigation into last week’s incident.
“From the call to the dispatch of EMS and the call to the police department and SLED, we want to know how long until those calls were made,” said Elder James Johnson. “We’ll be letting the press know exactly when we get that information.”
DJJ recently told us in a statement that Johnson is receiving proper medical care at the Broad River Road Complex.