As officials investigate violence in Los Angeles County jails, clues might be found on the streets of the county’s toughest neighborhoods, says the Los Angeles Times. Communities hard hit by gang violence and racial conflicts have stayed relatively quiet – even as the jails have been the scene of repeated clashes between black and Latino gangs.
The contrast between the jail clashes and tranquillity on the streets has bolstered the belief of some local law enforcement officials that large-scale riots and fights in the jails might have been fueled by several recent crackdowns on warring Latino and black gangs. “The problem in the jails may be partly due to knuckleheads who usually strike out on the streets and are now mostly in the jails,” said Deputy Police Chief Earl Paysinger. He cited an area that was the target of a joint Los Angeles police-federal operation last year that sent many clashing Latino and black gang members to jail. The neighborhood, he said, has seen a significant downturn in crime and has not had flare-ups in recent days despite numerous reports of fights in the jails. Sheriff’s officials still are trying to determine whether the riots are specifically tied to the recent spate of gang arrests.