07/14/2006

Forty inmates injured in racial brawls at LA County jail

The Associated Press

CASTAIC, Calif.- Forty inmates were injured in brawls that broke out in a Los Angeles County jail complex between black and Hispanic inmates, authorities said.

Guards used tear gas, rubber "stingballs" and pepperballs to quell the fighting involving 1,275 inmates within 20 minutes, said sheriff's Sgt. John Hocking. Eleven inmates were taken to a hospital for moderate injuries and 24 were treated by the jail's medical staff.

The fight followed another scuffle involving 339 inmates at four dorms at the jail's north facility, Hocking said. Five inmates were taken to a hospital for moderate injuries.

"We don't know what provoked the fights," Hocking said.

Both facilities, about 40 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, were locked down, and inmates were confined to their dormitories and rooms except to shower and eat.

The jail complex was the site of a series of fights between blacks and Hispanics that occurred earlier this year. One inmate was killed in a Feb. 4 battle. Another collapsed and died after a fight in a cell at the downtown Men's Central Jail.

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