400 Inmates Fight At Arizona State Prison Leaving 19 Injured

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By Charles Poladian | March 5, 2013 12:16 AM EST

A massive fight involving 400 inmates has caused Arizona State Prison, located in Tucson, to shut down. The fight erupted in a minimum-security location within the prison. Of those involved, 19 were injured including two prison guards and 17 inmates.

The fight occurred on Sunday morning and was quickly broken up reports The Associated Press. Two of the guards were treated for minor injuries while the 17 inmates were taken to local hospitals to be treated for injuries sustained in the melee.

Arizona State Prison is separated into eight different units and the fight occurred at the Whetstone Unit which houses approximately 1,250 inmates, notes AP. After the fight, prison officials cancelled all visitations scheduled for Sunday and Arizona State Prison is currently on lockdown. The fight involved 100 African-American inmates and 300 Caucasian and Mexican-American inmates notes ABC15.

Prison officials do not know what led to the massive fight but many speculate that racial tensions were at the heart of the fight. Daily Mail describes the fight as a “race riot,” citing previous investigations into racial profiling by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio from 2012. In September 2012, a fight involving 200 inmates occurred at the Santa Rita Unit of the Arizona State Prison, reports The Arizona Republic.  

Earlier this year, two other small-scale inmate fights led to prison lockdowns in Annapolis, MD and Seattle, WA. On February 8, in Jessup Correctional Institution, a maximum-security prison, an inmate got into a confrontation with an officer which prompted several other inmates to attack nearby officers, according to an earlier AP report. On February 18 at Airway Heights Corrections Center, in Seattle, a 16 inmate fight led to a prison-wide lockdown. Three prison guards were treated for minor injuries sustained as they tried to break up the fight while an inmate was taken to a local hospital to be treated.

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