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Nine Florida Guards Injured in Scuffle

Heightened tensions between prisoners and guards stemming from the July beating death of Frank Valdes at the hands of Florida State Prison guards may have contributed to a September clash between prisoners and guards at the Union Correctional Center in Raiford.

According to prison officials, six guards were handcuffing Lamar Miffin, 29, near the recreation yard after he had reportedly exposed himself and masturbated. Officials say Miffin grabbed a chunk of concrete to use against guards as they approached him.

Sources inside Raiford told PLN that it was unclear what Miffin had done, "whether the catalyst was gunning, but he was doing something in the sallyport of D Area in the SW Unit, possibly gunning [exposing himself to] a female guard in the control room.

"Anyway, the guards tried to corral [Miffin] and he took off around the back of the chow hall by the yard where they caught him. It was about 10 am at the time, and about eight guards jumped him, some 300 pounders, too."

According to official sources about 20 prisoners from the adjoining rec yard scaled a fence and attacked the six guards who were cuffing Miffin. Reinforcements were called and shortly after they arrived most of the combatant prisoners melted back into a crowd of about 300 onlookers, officials say.

PLN's inside source said that while the initial group of guards "piled onto [Miffin], the guys on the rec yard unleashed a volley of rocks. As the artillery rained down ... the rec gang pulled up the bottom of the fence and three [prisoners] scurried under and attacked. Even though they were outnumbered, [the three prisoners] proceeded to wear the [guards] out. The 300 pounders were cowering like wimps." Before reinforcements arrived the three prisoners "hightailed it back under the fence where they blended into the crowd. They were not captured until the next day after the rats did their duty."

According to Warden Dennis O'Neill, nine guards suffered minor injuries, including one who took stitches for a head wound, and one prisoner suffered a broken hand. O'Niell said that twelve prisoners who were identified by guards as having participated in the incident were placed in solitary confinement by extraction teams without incident.

O'Neill acknowledged that tensions were heightened after the Valdes beating. He told the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel that "you are dealing with a population that, no matter what they may have done personally, has a very keen sense of indignation."

Sources: Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Reader Mail

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