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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 15 February 2006

LOSANGELES—Hundreds of county jail inmates were being transferred to the state corrections system after a series of racially motivated brawls in the past week killed two inmates, authorities said.

"We are in the process of getting all the prisoners we can out of here and into the state prison system," Los Angeles County sheriff's Chief Marc Klugman said Monday.

About 200 inmates already have been moved out and another 400 were expected to be transferred this week, said Klugman, head of the nation's largest jail system.

"We are trying to stop all this fighting," sheriff's Deputy Alba Yates said.

The county jail system, which held 18,425 inmates as of Monday morning, remained on lockdown, meaning restricted movement within the jails and a loss of privileges such as visiting rights, Yates said.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California said punitive measures may not stop the riots, adding that community leaders, gang intervention specialists and racial integration experts must be involved.

"You need to focus on how to better manage the population you have," said Jody Kent, the group's jail projects coordinator.

Some Black community activists called for the FBI to investigate the incidents as hate crimes.

The latest inmate death occurred Sunday afternoon after a fight between four Hispanic and two Black prisoners in a six-man cell at the downtown Men's Central Jail.

A 38-year-old Black inmate collapsed and died after the fight. Another Black inmate was killed Feb. 4 in racial fighting at the Pitchess Detention Center's North Facility in Castaic, north of Los Angeles.

On Sunday, two fights between Black and Hispanic inmates broke out at the Pitchess facility. Five inmates sustained minor injuries before the fights were broken up with tear gas and pellet weapons. No deputies were hurt.

— The Associated Press

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