Colors on the Unit
The juveniles have to wear jumpers. The color of the jumper signifies what level of offense and where they are in the legal process. For instance, blue jumpers could mean the juvenile is in the evaluation/detention center for skipping school or another misdemeanor.
The green jumper... hmmm, think armed robbery, assault with intent, kidnapping, drug charges, or worse.
Two of the thirteen juveniles wear green jumpers. One is unsettled and mouthy. He wants to argue about everything. The other juvenile aggravates every person he comes in contact with unless he sees a way to manipulate them.
I can read him like a book.
I tell him he still has trash on the floor in his room, and I ask him to clean it up. He reluctantly goes to his room.
The rest of the juveniles are seated in the common area, and all I need is for Juvenile A to pick up his room so I can turn on the TV for everyone.
I look toward his room and I see him sitting on his bed fiddling with the shoes on his feet. The room is still trashy.
If he can’t manipulate he will aggravate.
I am aggravated and thinking I like him better when he is trying to manipulate me.
Juvenile B, the other green-jumper-wearing juvenile, is seated in the common area like he is supposed to be, but he is heckling Juvenile A.
Evidently, A and B have been at each other for a while. I don’t remember what it was that set him off, but
Juvenile A storms out of his room ten feet tall as if he is raging with testosterone.
Inside my head I have an oh sh*t moment, but pull it together quickly.
I am focused on getting him back into his room.
I calmly walk over to him and place my right hand on his chest. In an even tone I tell him to ignore Juvenile B, just do what I asked and go finish picking up the trash in his room.
He starts bouncing around and agitating the situation.
In my head I am saying Pleeease Go Back In Your Room.
He bounces to my left. I think about my radio in the side pocket of my BDU trousers, and I glance at the door.
Assistance is on the way because I can see the male corporal on the other side of the locked glass door.
We make eye contact. I see worry and fear. He anxiously looks over his shoulder at the control room, then back at me. He sees the situation escalating and can do nothing to help me.
It looks like he is yelling, “Come on!” to the officer in the control room. The officer has to press a button on a screen to unlock the door. That’s it, that’s all she has to do.
Is she distracted? Why isn’t she unlocking the door?
Juvenile A is bristled and bouncing from one foot to the other. For a moment I consider stepping away and letting the two of them mop the floor with each other, but I remember the warning about complicity and decide I don’t want to go to jail because I didn’t try to stop what was happening anyway.
I press into Juvenile A quite a bit firmer and try to calmly tell him again to go back to his room. He yells,
“Officer Trill, get out of the way!”
I am trying to buy time so the corporal can come in and take Juvenile A off my unit.
Juvenile B sees an opportunity and approaches from behind me. Maybe he feels a false sense of security because I am between him and Juvenile A, or maybe he’s just opportunistic and sees a clear shot at Juvenile A.
It doesn’t matter.
Juvenile A bounces to my right; I am still telling him no as he reaches over my right shoulder to punch Juvenile B who is directly behind me now.
Juvenile A’s elbow strikes my forehead above my right eyebrow as he extends his arm, and the impact jars my senses.
I think Dammmmit... that’s gonna leave a mark.
Simultaneously relieved that he didn’t hit my nose.
I hear from Juvenile A,
“Oh! Sorry Officer Trill. I told you to get out of the way.”
Now I’m pissed.
I hear the very distinctive sound of a fist hitting bony flesh.
I can only guess that the opportunistic Juvenile B punched Juvenile A in the face when A’s attention turned to me for a moment to apologize for clipping my forehead with his elbow.
Now it’s game on and both juveniles will kill each other if there is no intervention.
I look toward the door again to see two corporals running toward us.
It’s too late.
When Juvenile A drew his arm back to punch Juvenile B a second time, my head receives a forceful blow from Juvenile A’s elbow. This time the impact is behind my right ear.
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