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Sunday, October 28, 2007

CA Prison Riot Kills One, Injures 100-Plus

2-5-2006 California:

Los Angeles County detention centers remained in a lockdown Sunday, as sheriff's investigators sought to determine what led to a race-related riot at a maximum-security jail that left one inmate dead and more than 100 injured.

Investigators were interviewing hundreds of inmates and witnesses to the fighting that erupted Saturday afternoon at the North County Correctional Facility between blacks and Hispanics, said Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the county's Sheriff's Department, which operate the jail system.

Sheriff's officials identified the slain inmate as Wayne Robert Tiznor, 45. Tiznor, who was black, was jailed after being arrested Jan. 3 for failing to register as a sex offender, sheriff's officials said.

The motivation behind the riot appeared to be racial tension and a feud between black and Hispanic gangs, investigators said Saturday.

It was not clear whether Tiznor was singled out, however.

"They're investigating whether he was actually a target or not," Whitmore said.

Black and Hispanic inmates at the facility remained segregated Sunday.

Authorities normally can't segregate prisoners based on race or ethnicity because it is illegal, but legal advisers said it can be done in emergency situations, Sam Jones, chief custody officer of the county jail system.

About 1,800 to 2,000 inmates were involved in the rioting that lasted for 30 minutes to an hour, and about 200 inmates engaged in "serious fighting," Deputy Steve Suzuki, another sheriff's spokesman, said Saturday.

It appeared that 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 brawling ended, Jones said. Nonlethal pepper spray projectiles were fired into the melee.

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

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

The fight could be connected to the stabbing two days ago of a Hispanic gang member by a black gang member at the downtown Men's Central Jail, Suzuki said.

Authorities had information that a disturbance was imminent, but they didn't know the time or location, Jones said.

Sheriff's officials showed a letter they said was from an inmate that was given to them by an informant after the rioting.

It read: "No disrespect, but if blacks come in any dorms we will fight. We do not want to go against the sheriffs! Please separate us by race for everyone's safety. Thank you for your time. Sincerely, all the inmates."

The North County Correctional Facility is a maximum security complex comprised of five jails within one facility on a 34-acre site and houses about 4,000 inmates. It's about 40 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

The county jail system, which is the largest jail system in the United States, on average has a daily population of about 21,000 inmates, according to the sheriff's department. ..more.. by Associated Press


Sheriff Blames Lack of Staff for Jail Riot
2-6-2006 California:

.As county jail administrators have struggled with a staffing shortage and funding crisis, violence among prisoners has nearly doubled in the past three years at the North County Correctional Facility, the site of a weekend riot that left one inmate dead and dozens injured. [snip]

On Sunday, investigators sought to learn why inmate Wayne Robert Tiznor, (45) a convicted sex offender who was beaten to death in the earlier riot, was housed among violent gang members in the North County facility. Tiznor had been arrested and accused of failing to register with local police as a sex offender, which he was required to do because of a prior conviction. ..more.. : by Stuart Pfeifer and Jessica Garrison, Times Staff Writers

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