Imperial County Sheriff's Office officials were investigating whether a melee between 20 inmates in the county jail Friday occurred as a result of a racial conflict.
Sheriff Harold Carter said this morning the brawl started between two Native American inmates and Hispanic inmates in the recreation yard.
Several others joined in the confrontation and three people suffered minor injuries. Two jail-made weapons were found, both spoons with the handles sharpened into points.
Sixteen inmates were facing counts of suspicion of attempted murder in connection with the brawl.
Carter said the majority of those involved were in custody on parole violations — meaning they had served time in prison on earlier convictions and were back in custody awaiting court dates on other alleged violations.