Prison 'peacekeeper' wielded influence at Sacramento-area prison

Associated Press Writers

SACRAMENTO, Calif.- Although doing time for murder, and accused of a variety of prison offenses, James Tigar was a trusted inmate "peacekeeper" when he allegedly ordered a subordinate to stab a fellow prisoner at the high-security California State Prison, Sacramento.

The assailant, Wade Arthur Shiflett, hesitated when a tower guard fired a warning shot, then attacked again on Tigar's command, according to prison system documents obtained by The Associated Press. Shiflett was shot to death by the guard.

"Peacekeepers" like Tigar are influential inmates entrusted to help the staff, smooth racial tension and in some cases control fellow prisoners. Their use in the Sacramento prison has since been restricted.

The November 2004 killing wasn't the first time that Tigar, a white supremacist with a swastika tattooed on his chin, allegedly ordered an assault.

In the previous five years, he had been accused more than 40 times of being involved in illegal activities, the prison documents show.

Among the allegations against Tigar, logged in reports based on inmate or officer accounts that the AP obtained:

_Tigar "makes and provides weapons to the whites. If you get a weapon from him and ... not use it you will be stabbed."

_"I watched (Tigar) stab the white guy at the white's table."

_"(Tigar) is the leader of the skin head prison disruptive group at (the Sacramento prison) and is responsible for ordering other white inmates ... to carry out assaults on other inmates."

_"He is well known for having drugs if you need them."

According to prison documents, Warden Scott Kernan was warned days before the 2004 shooting that Tigar allegedly had ordered at least four assaults on inmates.

Kernan said in an interview that he knew of Tigar's influence.

However, he said the reports implicating Tigar weren't reliable enough and that many other inmates have several reports of wrongdoing.

Still, he took "full responsibility for not locking (Tigar) up." Tigar was moved to another prison.

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