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Racial Rioting Erupts in L.A. Jail

Two days of bloody fighting between black and Latino prisoners at Los Angeles County jails left 200 injured, 188 with serious wounds and 26 with minor scraps and bruises. Three deputies were also hurt in the eight incidents at the Pitchess Detention Center facilities in Saugus, November 21, 1996.

Sheriff's spokesman, Bill Martin, said, "The entire situation appears to have been precipitated by a slight altercation that occurred earlier. As a consequence, we were able to determine these were planned." The maximum and medium facilities were placed on lockdown status.

Deputies used batons, rubber bullets, pellet grenades, and pepper spray to subdue 43 prisoners late in the afternoon of the first day of rioting. The 8,000 man complex has a history of racial unrest between blacks and Latinos and most of the incidents in the two days of rioting were confined to these groups, although one fight broke out between blacks and Asians. More than 100 additional deputies had to be put on standby.

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