Guards at a downtown Los Angeles prison used pepper spray and sting ball grenades to quell a racially-charged jailhouse brawl earlier this week involving more than 60 black and latino inmates.
The brawl occurred
in a third-floor recreation area of the Los Angeles County's Twin Towers Jail, said Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
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Six inmates were taken to a local hospital, two in serious condition. The other four suffered cuts, bruises, and other non-life-threatening injuries, Reuters reported.
"This is something that does occur throughout our jail system from time to time," Whitmore said. "People in our jails are under a lot of tension, and it does regrettably happen."
Though the fight was racially-charged, prison officials were unable to say exactly what triggered the fight.
Racial tensions in the county jail system have escalated into large-scale prison brawls before. Last July, 78 inmates were involved in a fight at the Twin Towers Jail
, leaving seven inmates injured with minor to moderate injuries, CBS Los Angeles reported.
In 2006, racial riots involving hundreds of black and Hispanic inmates
at several different facilities broke out. The riots lasted for at least five days, and left dozens of inmates injured, many critically. At least one inmates was killed, the New York Times reported.
"We are convinced it is traced back to an age-old gang war in South Los Angeles," Whitmore told the Times shortly after the riots occurred. "It is a small core group of people, and most of the inmates don't want to fight."
The Twin Towers Jail is a 1.5-million-square-foot facility on 10 acres of land. It houses roughly 4,500 inmates, according to Whitmore. It is one of eight detention centers the sheriff's department runs in the county. There are 18,000 prisoners county-wide.
The L.A. county jail system is the largest correctional system in the nation and is known for being constantly overpopulated, Reuters reported.
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