The inmates involved in this incident were some of the most dangerous and violent criminals housed in the high security section of our jails. The incident was caused by the violent and disruptive conduct of the inmates, who were lighting fires, ripping out sinks and using the porcelain shards as weapons, and threatening to kill deputies.
Those inmates who cooperated were removed from their cells with no use of force or injury. Many of the remaining inmates were gang members who were ordered by gang leaders not to cooperate with the deputies, and who would face severe retribution from the gang if they did cooperate. As a result, deputies faced maximum resistance from the combative inmates.
Many of the inmates had prior felony convictions for violent, assaultive behavior (some during previous cell extractions), and several were convicted for crimes committed during this 2008 incident. We cannot allow inmates to hold an entire jail hostage.
There are inherent limits to video accurately portraying this kind of situation. In this case, the physical constraints of the jail cells added to the difficulty of capturing on video the details of the individual uses of force necessary to overcome the inmates’ resistance.