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Santa Clarita / Antelope Valley : 20 Inmates Transferred in Jail After Brawls : Security: The move by officials at Peter J. Pitchess Honor Rancho follows a series of fights that led to 21 injuries.

September 24, 1993|TIMOTHY WILLIAMS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

CASTAIC — About 20 inmates involved in a series of brawls at the Peter J. Pitchess Honor Rancho earlier this week have been transferred to different parts of the jail, authorities said Thursday.

The fights, which broke out in three dormitories at the Honor Rancho's maximum security East Facility on Tuesday, led to 21 injuries as African-American and Latino prisoners fought each other with telephone receivers and broken broomsticks, said Los Angeles County sheriff's spokesman Rich Erickson.

Three inmates were admitted to local hospitals for hand, shoulder and back injuries; all have been released. The other wounded prisoners were treated for minor cuts and lacerations at the jail's medical clinic, Erickson said.

The first altercation began about 3:40 p.m. when two inmates continued a fight that had started earlier in the day at Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles, Erickson said. The fight spread to most of the dormitory's 126 inmates, with African-American and Latino inmates squaring off and fighting each other, Erickson said.

Forty deputies from the sheriff department's Emergency Response Team used pepper spray and two "stingball" grenades to break up the melee after about 10 minutes, Erickson said.

Thirty minutes later, another brawl, which also was along ethnic lines, began in an adjacent dormitory involving about 120 inmates. Prisoners used brooms and telephones that had been ripped from walls as weapons before the fight was broken up by deputies, Erickson said.

About 6:50 p.m., a disturbance in a third dormitory broke out, which was also quelled by deputies, Erickson said.

"These kinds of things are almost always set off by little things, and even though they involve large numbers of people, the inmates usually stop as soon as deputies arrive," Erickson said. No deputies were injured in the fighting.

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