Inmates at the Los Angeles County Men’s Central Jail beat and stomped another inmate to death after guards locked them in an unsupervised holding room, the Los Angeles Times reports. The case raises new questions about a system plagued by murders and attacks behind bars. It was the eighth killing in the jail in two years and came despite assurances by Sheriff Lee Baca that he was taking steps to increase security and improve segregation of violent inmates. The American Civil Liberties Union has repeatedly warned about the dangers of housing inmates without supervision.
The attack occurred Wednesday evening, when deputies placed about 30 inmates in a locked room to eat dinner while they searched nearby cells for weapons. The inmates were left alone with no deputies either in the room or monitoring them from outside. Left alone, two inmates attacked another inmate who they said cut in front of them to receive his dinner tray, authorities said. Both suspects in the killing are gang members, one charged with murder, the other with carjacking and kidnapping. The victim was accused of being a felon in possession of a weapon. Baca said that his department will begin to segregate gang members charged with murder from the rest of the inmate population.