Normer Adams: Downing Clark Center

On February 4, 2010, Downing Clark Center’s (DCC) license to provide residential care for 72 behaviorally disturbed children was revoked by the Office of Residential Child Care (ORCC).  This revocation was based on nine alleged violations of licensing rules for Child Caring Institutions that came to “light” as a result of a “riot” on January 5, 2010.  Downing Clark Center appealed this revocation.  On September 23, Administrative Law Judge Steven W. Teate’s ruling reversed this revocation of license and removed seven out of the nine violation citations that led to this revocation.  Two low level safety risk violations of licensing were substantiated by Judge Teate. On the evening of January 5, 2010, a prank 911 call was made to the Gordon County Sheriff’s Department from the Downing Clark Center in Gordon County by one of the residents with a contraband cell phone. Staff immediately advised the arriving deputies that there was no disturbance and everything was in order. Against the staff’s requests, 27 more deputies arrived and initiated what became a full scale police riot.  These male officers barged into this all girl facility against the repeated pleas of staff.  After the deputies exchanged racial slurs and sexist comments with the residents, 20 behaviorally and mentally challenged girls were taken to jail on a variety of charges. Judge Teate could find no basis for the deputies entering the facility based on a prank 911 call.  Video of the entire night clearly showed the facility in order and in control by the staff when the deputies arrived. The deputy’s verbal testimony did not match what the Judge saw on the video.  No disturbance was seen on the video. The video showed no doors breached, no screaming in the hallways and no “total chaos” in the facility.