Santa Clara County

Huge Inmate Brawl Prompts Lockdown at Santa Clara County Main Jail

"One inmate brushed up against another and then the fight was on," the sheriff said. "You could see a lot of fist fighting."

A brawl involving at least 20 inmates prompted a temporary lockdown of the Santa Clara County Jail Thursday, officials said.

The altercation started with two inmates at 3:10 p.m. in Module 4A, Sheriff Laurie Smith said. Others quickly joined the brawl, which lasted about two minutes, according to officials.

About 30 inmates were present at the time of the fight. One deputy was in the housing unit when the fight broke out, and a total of five deputies were on the floor, authorities said.

At least part of the fight was captured on surveillance cameras that were installed the night before.

"One inmate brushed up against another and then the fight was on," Smith said after reviewing some of the surveillance video. "You could see a lot of fist fighting."

Smith added that there was no indication weapons were used in the brawl.

Jail deputies used pepper spray to break up the fight. At least one inmate suffered injuries that will require stitches, officials said. Hazmat crews also were called to the jail to clean out the pepper spray.

Retired judge and chair of the Blue Ribbon Commission investigating the jail practices LaDoris Cordell said she didn't understand why this particular group of Latinos and African-Americans were grouped together.

 “If in fact, correctional officers  knew that on that pod or in that unit there were groups who didn’t get along, be they along racial lines or whatever," she said. "I was told repeatedly they’d never let them out because it could lead to a fight and someone could get hurt.”

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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