Three girls accused of punching workers at health facility

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Police arrested three girls accused of punching and pulling the hair of two workers at the Palmetto Behavioral Health center in North Charleston.

The North Charleston Police Department charged two juvenile girls and 17-year-old Courtney Washington with simple assault.

Officers responded to the Palmetto Behavioral Health center on 2777 Speissegger Dr. in reference to a disturbance.

When officers arrived, they found the three suspects screaming and "yelling at the top of their lungs" at the staff to leave them alone and not to touch them. Police say they were able to calm down the three girls and spoke to the two victims.

The 48-year-old victim, who is the house supervisor for the girls, said that Washington asked her for some food. When the victim told Washington that it was too late for food, Washington started to yell at the victim calling her names and threatening to assault her, police say.

The victim then called for the second victim, a 37-year-old woman, to help.

According to investigators, when the second victim arrived to help, Washington became very angry and called for the other girls.

A police report states that all three suspects began attacking the two victims by throwing punches and pulling their hair. The 37-year-old woman was knocked to the floor and has a possible broken finger. Other staff members were able to come in and break up the fight.

All three were placed under arrest for simple assault.

Palmetto Behavioral Health released the following statement:

"Palmetto Behavioral Health is a residential treatment facility that provides services for emotionally disturbed and mentally challenged children.  These patients are admitted to Palmetto Behavioral because they have difficulty acting in a socially acceptable manner."

"Over the weekend Palmetto Behavioral Health staff followed company protocol and requested police assistance with an incident involving adolescents at its North Charleston treatment facility.  A severely troubled young lady awoke after midnight demanding breakfast.  She became agitated and awoke other patients when staff attempted to return her to her room.  Per internal procedure police were contacted and three patients were removed from the hospital."

"All three minors are residents of South Carolina. Palmetto Behavioral Health staff followed proper protocol throughout this incident."

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