Police plan to charge minor in downtown attack, brings question of where to put juvenile offenders

PITTSBURGH — A man was hospitalized after being assaulted in downtown Pittsburgh Monday night.

Police said a minor is the suspect in the crime.

The case is raising concerns about where to put juvenile offenders, since the closing of the Shuman Detention Center last year.

It’s a serious issue Target 11 investigator Rick Earle exposed earlier this year, and tonight Rick is live with the fallout concerning this case.

Police apprehended the juvenile who allegedly grabbed the victim’s backpack on Smithfield Street Monday night and pulled him to the ground.

According to police, surveillance video then shows another unknown juvenile punching him in the face.

He fell and hit his head, knocking him unconscious.

The boy who grabbed the backpack told police they went after him because he was touching females.

Police plan to charge the boy.

They also discovered he had an outstanding warrant in a previous case, so they decided to detain him, but juvenile probation said there were no beds available and to release him to his parents.

It’s a concern raised by then-Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert in a Target 11 investigation in May.

“We need a place where we can put people who shouldn’t be on the street right now in a place where we can have them in custody,” said Schubert. “That’s not always available.”

The county decided to shut the Shuman Juvenile Detention Center down for good last year, after the state revoked their license for repeated safety violations.

As the county and courts continue the search for an alternative, they have reserved 16 beds at private facilities.

When they’re full, juvenile offenders are often released to their parents.

The president of the Allegheny County Chiefs of Police Association also expressed concern to Target 11 a couple months ago.

“We arrest someone,” said West View Police Chief Bruce Fromlak. “We’re doing our part, and then we’re dealing with that same person three or four days later, maybe doing the same thing. So it’s a safety concern.”

In the case Monday night, the mother refused to take her son, claiming he’s violent towards family members.

Pittsburgh Children, Youth and Family Services declined to take him as well, because of the outstanding arrest warrant from a previous case.

He was ultimately referred for psychological evaluation.

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