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DA's Office investigating brawl involving 20 county jail inmates

February 22, 2002|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

The District Attorney's Office today was continuing to investigate a brawl that occurred at the county jail one week ago to determine what if any charges will be filed against those involved.

Assistant District Attorney Joe Beard said this morning by next week the DA's Office should make a decision on whether charges will be filed in the case.

He said making that decision difficult is the fact the inmates involved are not cooperating with authorities about what occurred during the Feb. 15 fight.

The county Sheriff's Office has filed a complaint against inmates involved in the melee, seeking charges ranging from attempted murder to assault with a deadly weapon and conspiracy.

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The brawl involved some 20 inmates and occurred in the recreation yard shortly after the inmates were released into that area for a three-hour recreation period.

Little information has been released on what led to the fight, but authorities have said racial conflicts likely played a role in how people took sides during the brawl.

Three inmates suffered cut wounds in the fight, and two prison-made weapons — metal spoons with the handles sharpened into points — were recovered.

Correctional officers in full riot gear moved in to break up the fight.

Authorities, during a search for weapons, did use tear gas on an inmate who refused to leave his cell.

>> Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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