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Youth academy resident charged with battery a week after riot

Highlands Today staff report
Published:   |   Updated: August 26, 2013 at 09:07 AM

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AVON PARK -Authorities have charged a 17-year-old Avon Park Youth Academy resident with battery for reportedly punching an academy staff member in the face Saturday, a week after a riot broke out at the Polk County facility.

Zayroux Cleveland Graham, 17, 17645 N.W. 22nd Ave., Miami Gardens, tried to enter a building he was unauthorized to, states a press release from the Polk County Sheriff's Office.

When confronted by a staff member from G4S, the private company that manages the academy, Graham flinched at the 43-year-old, as if to intimidate him, appeared to turn to walk away and then turned back, striking the victim in the mouth with a closed fist, the news release adds.

The victim fell to the ground and did not fight back, the news release adds. He suffered a laceration to his lower lip but declined medical attention.

The Saturday incident took place a week after a full-blown riot at the academy, where residents damaged several buildings.

Graham has been identified as one of the youths who "actively" participated in the Aug. 17 riot, the news release adds.

He was one of 64 residents who had been taken to the Polk County Sheriff's Office's South County Jail in Frostproof after the riot and had returned to the youth academy on Friday, authorities state. Charges are pending in that ongoing investigation.

Graham was taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center for processing after the alleged battery. Graham was charged with battery on detention staff: juvenile probation officer .

He has been incarcerated at the Avon Park Youth Academy since January for carrying a concealed firearm and has two other battery convictions: March 2009 - battery on a law enforcement officer and September 2009 - simple battery, authorities add.

Polk County detectives will work with the state attorney's office and request Graham be prosecuted as an adult, the news release adds

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