02/10/2006

Prison authorities report another racial brawl at L.A. County jail

The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES- Sheriff's deputies put down a fight involving nearly 200 jail inmates Thursday, the latest in a series of racially charged brawls at a Los Angeles County lockup, authorities said. There were no major injuries.

The fight between black and Hispanic inmates broke out shortly before 1 p.m. (2200 GMT) at two dorms in the East Facility of Pitchess Detention Center near Castaic, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) northwest of downtown Los Angeles, according to the Sheriff's Department.

Authorities quelled the brief melee using "clear out" gas, officials said. No deputies were hurt.

The fight erupted after sheriff's officials, hoping to ease tension in the detention center, allowed clergy into a different section of the facility Thursday to talk with inmates.

All seven Los Angeles County jails were on lockdown for a second day Thursday.

There were five racially motivated fights Wednesday, the largest involving about 300 inmates in a dorm at the center's North Facility. Nineteen inmates were injured in the fighting Wednesday, one critically.

A section of the same detention center was the site of rioting Saturday between Hispanic and black inmates that killed one man and injured more than 100 others. That was followed by two jail melees Monday night.

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