Mon, Feb 06, 2006 - Page 7 News List

US jail riot leaves one dead and more than 100 injured


A riot at a maximum-security jail left one inmate dead and more than 100 injured, including 20 hospitalized with serious injuries, authorities said.

About 1,800 to 2,000 inmates were involved in the riot that lasted nearly an hour at the remote North County Correctional Facility on Saturday, Deputy Steve Suzuki, a sheriff's spokesman said. About 200 inmates engaged in "serious fighting," he said.

It appeared no weapons were used, but inmates tossed mattresses and banged heads against bunk beds, officials said. Smaller fights broke out for at least four hours after the main riot ended.

A 45-year-old black inmate who was a registered sex offender was killed and the riot was race-related, Suzuki said. Black and Hispanic inmates at the facility were being segregated and a lockdown was ordered systemwide, Sheriff Lee Baca said.

"The motivation appears to be racial tensions and a carry-over of a feud between black and Hispanic gangs," Suzuki said.

Twenty-six inmates were treated at the jail for injuries, Suzuki said. The 20 inmates who were hospitalized did not have life threatening injuries.

No law enforcement personnel were injured, Inspector Ron Haralson of the Los Angeles County Fire Department said.

Paramedics were stationed outside the facility as they performed triage for their own safety and because of the pepper spray used to subdue the rioting.

Televised reports showed a long line of ambulances outside the facility.

The North County Correctional Facility is a maximum-security complex composed of five jails that together house about 4,000 inmates.

It is illegal to segregate prisoners based on race or ethnicity, but legal advisers said it can be done in emergency situations, Sam Jones, chief custody officer of the county jail system said.

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