• First juvenile charged in Polk County youth academy riot case


    POLK COUNTY, Fla. - Polk County Sheriff's Office detectives investigating a riot at the DJJ Avon Park Youth Academy have charged the first juvenile with four felonies, officials said.

    Charles Kenneth Smith, 17, was charged with one count of rioting, one count of burglary, one count of grand theft and one count of introduction of contraband into a detention facility.

    Sheriff Grady Judd said he plans to file felony charges against another 137 juveniles who participated in Saturday's riot.

    "Our detectives will continue to conduct a thorough investigation and ensure that everyone who incited or took part in the riot is appropriately charged.  Charles Smith is just the first of many we anticipate filing felony charges against," Judd said.

    Officials said a group of juveniles from Orlando were playing basketball against a group of juveniles from St. Petersburg for three "Cup Noodles" soups.

    Investigators said the losing team, the group from St. Pete, refused to give the other team the soups and a fight broke out, which then led to the riot.

    Judd said the guards at the scene were contracted from a company called G4S and didn't have the necessary tools to stop the riot.

    Judd said he's critical of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice for not allowing the tools or proper training for situations like Saturday's riot.

    About 150 law enforcement officers from seven different agencies helped end the riot.

    Officials said Smith was transported to the Juvenile Assessment Center upon being charged by the Polk County Sheriff's Office.  From there, he was sent to a Department of Juvenile Justice facility in Pinellas County. 

    According to an arrest affidavit, Smith is the juvenile who used a radio belonging to the G4S staff during the riot.  

    Officials said Smith has three prior felony charges, including resisting arrest with violence, possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of paraphernalia.  The charges were filed by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.  He has no prior charges in Polk County.

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    First juvenile charged in Polk County youth academy riot case