Twins accuse juvenile detention center staff of assault - WFLA News Channel 8

Twins accuse juvenile detention center staff of assault

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The parents of twin teenagers are suing a local juvenile detention center after they say employees attacked their kids. They say they have the pictures and medical records to prove it.

A lawsuit filed in Washington County Circuit Court earlier this month lays out all of the allegations against the Upper East Tennessee Regional Juvenile Detention Center and two of its employees.

Bryan and Ryan Kiser's family filed suit almost a year after the twins spent two days inside the privately-operated facility on Wesley Street in Johnson City.

The family is asking for more than $600,000 in damages, but they say money is not all they want. They say they also want justice.

Jeff Kiser says he asked a judge to send his 17 year-old kids to juvenile detention in October 2012 for 48 hours to set them straight after they were caught smoking weed. He says their punishment was never supposed to include getting beat up.

That's exactly what his family alleges happened. Bryan Kiser, now 18, says just a day into his stay, an employee attacked him after he mouthed off.

"Me and him got into a little fight there," Kiser said. "First he called me an SOB and I said, 'I ain't an SOB, you're the SOB' and he hauled off and hit me and broke my nose and blacked my eye. It hurt pretty bad. It laid my nose over a little bit. It's still crooked if you look at it."

Kiser says he never threatened the employee or attempted to attack him leading up to the fight.

His twin brother says another worker came after him too.

"He come up and held me up against the wall by the neck," Ryan Kiser said.

That night, the detention center called Johnson City police in reference to a fight between two males, guards and juvenile. The 911 call log says it involved two twin brothers, "very out of control."

Police spent 21 minutes there and then cleared the scene without filing a report. They later told their supervisors they saw no evidence of any serious injuries or a crime.

The next day, the Kisers say the facility released the teens as scheduled after never alerting their parents about the fight and never giving the teens medical treatment.

Their mother says she immediately took the twins to the hospital. The hospital's medical records from that same day confirm the boys were injured at some point.

"If I had hit one of my children to this extent, I would be in jail today," their dad said.

Angry, the next day he filed a report with the Johnson City Police Department and provided them with pictures and medical records that were "placed into evidence." However, police never followed up.

"Based upon what was presented to us, we don't know when that occurred," Chief Mark Sirois said. "We do know that when we went there on that night that we didn't see any evidence of a crime that warranted follow-up on that night. We did investigate. We were called by 911 to the facility. The officers took care of the disturbance. We didn't observe any evidence of a crime. We took care of the disturbance and cleared up on that night."

The chief says since this allegedly occurred inside a correctional facility and was likely the result of a use of force, self-defense incident, it called for more of an internal investigation by the juvenile detention center.

"Normally, that's followed by an internal investigation," Chief Sirois said.

First Judicial District Attorney Tony Clark says to his knowledge the juvenile detention center completed an internal investigation, which revealed no need for a follow-up.

"The police department did their job," Clark said. "They went out there on a call. They didn't even find it necessary to file a report (on the night of the incident). There was no other evidence to support who did that or how it occurred. In my opinion, there is not a case."

Of course, the Kisers have a different opinion. After having no luck with the criminal justice system they filed a civil lawsuit.

In the interest of full disclosure, the teens behind the allegations are not model citizens. In fact, just a couple months ago, Kingsport police arrested the now 18 year-olds for stealing a soda machine and evading arrest.

"My boys are by no way, form or fashion angels, but they are definitely not deserving of a beating of a 40 year-old or 50 year-old man when they are juveniles," their dad said. "There's no way that two guards that weigh 200 to 250 in weight cannot detain a child without punching them in the face. There's no reason for assault to have been done."

Police say the Kisers could have taken out warrants of their own if they really wanted the men charged. They say they could have also contacted District Attorney Tony Clark directly.

The family says they tried everything.

When contacted, the juvenile detention center's administrator said Wednesday he would have the center's attorney call us. We have yet to receive any official comment.

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