A 59-year-old Los Angeles County deputy probation officer is facing three years in jail after allegedly using excessive force on a 17-year-old boy at the Camp Kilpatrick juvenile facility in Malibu in Oct. 2020, authorities announced Monday.
In surveillance footage that was first made public by the Los Angeles Times, four probation officers are seen piling onto the teenager, shoving him face down onto a bed. Moments later, after it appears the teen had been subdued, Oscar Cross, an L.A. County Probation Department supervisor, steps in, grabs the teen’s legs and forces them backwards, toward the boy’s head.
The 17-year-old can be heard crying out for his mom as the officers are in a pile on top of him.
At a press conference on Monday to announce charges against Cross, L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón did not mince words, calling the incident “a brutal assault on a child.”
“Even after the minor was handcuffed, Cross continued to hold the minor’s leg backward for several more seconds. The youth can be heard continuing to scream and cry in pain.”
Gascón added that just a day before the incident, Cross had completed a four-hour course entitled Child Abuse Prevention and Reporting.
While the 17-year-old did not sustain any serious injuries, the D.A. said that those who harm children must be held accountable.
“No matter what these children have been accused of, they deserve to be safe within the institutions that house them, safe from each other, safe from abuse at the hands of staff members,” Gascón said.
L.A. County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath also spoke at the press conference, saying that there is a systemic problem of abuse in the juvenile corrections system and that she plans to introduce a motion on Tuesday that would force changes.
“We are saying to the families of our justice-involved youth that we will not tolerate harm and we will not tolerate child abuse, not today, not tomorrow, not ever,” Horvath said at the press conference.
It’s unclear if Supervisor Cross, who has been charged with one count of assault under the color of authority, is still employed by the L.A. County Probation Department. When asked, Gascón said he did not know.