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Inmate Dies After Fight at Men's Central Jail

Four inmates are hurt at the Castaic lockup in brawling between black and Latino street gangs.

February 13, 2006|Charles Ornstein | Times Staff Writer

A 38-year-old black inmate at Los Angeles County's Men's Central Jail died Sunday afternoon after a fight with Latino inmates. He is the second inmate to die in nine days of racially motivated rioting in the county jail system.

The inmate, whose name was not released, was pronounced dead at 1:50 p.m., said Sheriff's Deputy Alba Yates.

The fight in which he died was one of two racially motivated brawls in the jail system Sunday.

More than 90 inmates fought at the Pitchess Detention Center's North Facility about 3:30 p.m., said Sheriff's Deputy Luis Castro. Four inmates suffered minor injuries. Two were taken to a local hospital and the other two were treated at the scene.

Castro said he was unsure how long the fighting lasted.

As they did in previous incidents, sheriff's deputies broke up the scuffles using tear gas and pellet weapons known as sting balls. No deputies were injured.

All told, the days of fighting have left dozens of inmates injured. Elected officials and clergy have called for an end to the brawling and said publicly that they fear the violence will continue when inmates are released and go back home.

The death at the Men's Central Jail marked the eighth time an inmate has been killed at the outmoded facility in the last 2 1/2 years. "The argument escalated when the inmates separated along racial lines and began to fight," Yates said.

Sheriff's deputies responded to the cell and stopped the fight between four Latinos and two blacks. The black inmates complained of pain, and were escorted to the jail medical clinic.

The inmate who died fell unconscious in the hallway and the medical staff was unable to resuscitate him. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

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