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Jail unrest escalated into fight

Suspected ringleaders charged with injuring deputies

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 An attack on Richmond County Sheriff deputies by inmates capped a week of violent incidents inside the jail at the Law Enforcement Center, Maj. Gene Johnson said Monday.

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The dayroom and jail cells on floor six west are seen at the Richmond County Law Enforcement Center, Monday, Feb. 8, 2010, in Augusta, Ga.  Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
The dayroom and jail cells on floor six west are seen at the Richmond County Law Enforcement Center, Monday, Feb. 8, 2010, in Augusta, Ga.

The eight inmates facing new criminal charges in Friday's melee had their first appearances Monday before Richmond County Magistrate Court Presiding Judge H. Scott Allen.

All eight are housed on the west cell block on the sixth floor, which is reserved for those accused of committing major violent crimes.

The trouble in the cell block started Tuesday when inmates made a grab for food trays, Johnson said.

The officers in charge punished the inmates by denying them access to an in-house "store" where they can purchase items such as candy and personal items.

On Wednesday, the inmates tried to rush out of their cell block in an attempt to get to the east side and fight with the inmates there, Johnson said. That resulted in two days on lockdown - inmates were not allowed out of individual cells into the common area of the cell block.

The next morning, an inmate turned in a homemade knife - or shank - another prisoner had fashioned with wire and an Ace bandage, Johnson said.

The lockdown ended Friday morning. That evening, when deputies on duty on the west cell block tried to break up a card game that included gambling - which is prohibited - the inmates refused to stop, Johnson said. The inmates then attacked, the three officers on duty reported.

The deputies had no weapons to defend themselves, Johnson said, but they were able to call for backup.

Johnson said all 31 men in the cell block were involved.

Before extra deputies helped quell the violence, three officers suffered broken bones. One was stabbed in the face with a pencil. Six were taken to the hospital.

"I don't understand," Johnson said. "It's not like they (inmates) can win." He estimated it took about 10 minutes to put all the inmates back into the cells.

Johnson said the eight men considered the ringleaders in the incident have been charged with aggravated battery and rioting.

Three of those charged were being held in jail on murder charges. The rest are awaiting trial on armed robbery charges.

One of those accused, Jatavious January, has been in jail since his arrest for a June 28, 2007, killing, according to court records. Another, Levaughn Sloans, has been held since his arrest for a May 1, 2008, killing.

The longer an inmate stays in the jail, the more likely he will become a disciplinary problem, Johnson said.

The jailers have problems with inmates forming alliances inside that can lead to violence toward other inmates and officers. Johnson said they try to split up these groups as soon as possible, but overcrowding leaves them with few options.

Although the cell block where the incidents occurred is not overcrowded, the county's jails - including the one on Phinizy Road - are over-capacity, with 987 inmates Monday morning. The capacity is 910.

Johnson said the judges have been moving cases through the system faster, which gets inmates out of the jail faster, but he would like to see the cases of those charged with violent offense moved quicker.

On Monday, there were about 145 people in jail awaiting trial on charges of murder, armed robbery and aggravated assault, he said.

The most recent flooding of the decrepit Law Enforcement Center and the plans to move sheriff officers to a different facility will not affect the jail at the Law Enforcement Center, Johnson said.

The jail portion will remain operational, he said. The Phinizy Road jail is currently being expanded, but it will not replace cells at the Law Enforcement Center.

Eventually the plan is to further expand the Phinizy Road jail to include rooms for booking, and bonding and release areas as well as another pod, Johnson said.

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Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 02/09/10 - 01:18 am
0
0
The only thing VIOLENT

The only thing VIOLENT CRIMINALS such as this should get is a short time out of their cell, a couple at a time. No free time to roam around with others, no time to make knives in jail, no time to go and buy candy and other items at a store, etc. I mean really, a store in jail for violent offenders to buy candy - how absurd - other countries look at us and laugh and in this case, they are right. Additionally, if conviceted of violent crimes, the punishment should be death or life in prison, in your cell at all times, no chance of parole as you deserve absolutely nothing from our society. Why should these deputies ever be put in harms way for violent murderers, rapist, robbers, etc.? It is time we take back our communities and our country from liberal judges, weak systems due to political correctness, and enabling government that teaches you are owed something because you are born in America and past time we take back our country from violent criminals.

Nat the Cat
1
Points
Nat the Cat 02/09/10 - 01:33 am
0
0
Asitisinaug....Great comment,

Asitisinaug....Great comment, my sentiments exactly! That is why we elected our Sheriff...to take back our City from violent criminals, but he is obviously incapable of doing so. Not only can he not catch them mugging people on River Walk, but look at what they get to do while in JAIL. Major Johnson is a good man, but he takes his orders from the Sheriff like everyone else that works for the Richmond County Sheriff's Department. For the Sheriff to allow prisoners the privileges that he does has led directly to the serious injuries of our Deputies. Let the Sheriff go tell the prisoners not to gamble in jail...unbelievable!

johnston.cliff
2
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johnston.cliff 02/09/10 - 03:19 am
0
0
Obviously, this jail is run

Obviously, this jail is run very loosely. Asitisinaug has it exactly right. If they are awaiting trial, why are they in the common room? Why are they allowed to visit a store, isn't it common practice to allow the store to roll to them? Surely there's a system to separate individuals with issues with one another, the same can be done with those less likely to obey jail rules. All of the things listed in the article are situations that have been happening for decades. It sounds like the sloppy running of the jail is the major problem there. Who's accountable for inmate treatment and handling there?

Brad Owens
4281
Points
Brad Owens 02/09/10 - 04:44 am
0
0
Jatavious January? JJ?

Jatavious January? JJ? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! That dude was set up for failure by his parents. Why don't we 'outsource' or jailings to save money and punish folks? Lots of countries around the world would take them for us at a fee and I bet that they would come back changed people.

jb5365
0
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jb5365 02/09/10 - 05:12 am
0
0
The way the store works is

The way the store works is that one inmate takes requests from all others in his area. They usually call him "New York". They give him money, he keeps track of who gave how much and their "order". If you want to stop store priveleges stop the money going in the individuals account. I thought ALL judges were conservative, the good ol` boy syndrome...

bettyboop
7
Points
bettyboop 02/09/10 - 05:29 am
0
0
CHAIN-GANG

CHAIN-GANG

Ole School
0
Points
Ole School 02/09/10 - 05:40 am
0
0
" WHO RUNS THAT HOUSE " you

" WHO RUNS THAT HOUSE " you guys need to ask the state for their tact squad for a day or so....... that is what they do. bring calm where there is ciaos and bring order where there is none.

tjd
0
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tjd 02/09/10 - 06:35 am
0
0
That store is makn some

That store is makn some bank!!!!!!!!!

glassrinkmaker
0
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glassrinkmaker 02/09/10 - 07:18 am
0
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I agree with Betty. Nat,

I agree with Betty. Nat, sorry to bust your bubble, but you are aiming your arrow in the wrong direction. The problem is not the sheriff, it's the liberal azz judges who require prisoners to have such rights! If it were up to me, "their" rights would be two meals, and a 12 hr shift cleaning up public roads and areas 6 days a week!

Brad Owens
4281
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Brad Owens 02/09/10 - 07:30 am
0
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Why only 6 days a week?

Why only 6 days a week?

Mr.Positive
0
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Mr.Positive 02/09/10 - 08:06 am
0
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Give 'em all knives and let

Give 'em all knives and let them finish themselves off. Think of the money the taxpayers will be saving in housing this garbage. Honest citizens should be given open season these thugs with no bag limit.

1941
4
Points
1941 02/09/10 - 08:06 am
0
0
Why are they allowed to buy

Why are they allowed to buy ''snacks''? I thought jail was to give up the things you were allowed to do when you were free? If the families of these crooks, can afford to give them money for snacks, they should be able to pay for the ''three hots,& a cot'', that they are getting!!!

cheeringonthedawgs
108
Points
cheeringonthedawgs 02/09/10 - 08:21 am
0
0
The jail has these privileges

The jail has these privileges for the inmates because of politics. As long as you have an elected sheriff, he has to bend to the wishes of his constituents or not be reelected. You have these soft hearted liberals who say that you can't treat them like criminals you must give them these things. These are the same parents who can't raise their children correctly who are demanding that there is store call, tvs, radios, mp3 players and all. Now it would be almost impossible to take these things away. I feel for the deputies that have to deal with this mess.

glassrinkmaker
0
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glassrinkmaker 02/09/10 - 08:34 am
0
0
Good point, Brad. Cheer,

Good point, Brad. Cheer, AGAIN it is not the Sheriff, it is the liberal judges and lawmakers who make the rules--not the sherieff. Albeit, ther is a lot of things he CAN do t make their stay a WHOLE lot less desirable!

eachoneteachone
0
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eachoneteachone 02/09/10 - 08:49 am
0
0
Lock em down ..take away all

Lock em down ..take away all TV's, basketball hoops.....put ball and chain on em ..Augusta is a garbage dump...make em clean up this place!
The only book that they should be allowed to read is a dictionary!

CobaltGeorge
154962
Points
CobaltGeorge 02/09/10 - 09:16 am
0
0
Everybody, lets be very

Everybody, lets be very careful with our comments here on this issue. Political Correctness has to be the controlling factor. Reminder, you also have about 95% of the parents and friends who will name bash you by telling you that these are good human beings, asset to our community who have been falsely incarcerate by U know who. You do not want to offend them. Another thing to guide your comments is you may be attacking the IRA bank accounts of many, many Lawyers. Us, few common sense citizens who work daily to pay for their comfort of these model citizens must always feel "proud". Good Morning, everybody.

donnymack
1
Points
donnymack 02/09/10 - 09:22 am
0
0
I think the reason they are

I think the reason they are allowed to buy candy is that they need to treat their in house (girlfriend) right.

bettyboop
7
Points
bettyboop 02/09/10 - 09:55 am
0
0
Justus do you have an

Justus do you have an opinion?

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 02/09/10 - 09:58 am
0
0
Prisoners are way too coddled

Prisoners are way too coddled in this country. When you commit a crime and are convicted you should go to jail. It should be an extremely unpleasant place to be. You should spend most of the day in your cell, by yourself. No TV, no internet. Nothing but your bed, a sink and toilet, some books and lots of time to think about what you did. You should be allowed outside alone, for a brief period to stretch your legs and get some fresh air. Meals should be eaten alone, in your room.

The human rights pansies of the nation have convinced everyone that these folks can be rehabilitated and that prisoners "deserve" great living conditions. Lets stop for a minute and think about the victims of their crime. The families of the person they murdered, the person they tried to murder who is maimed for life, the person they robbed at gunpoint whose trust in humanity they took forever, the woman they raped who will never look at men the same way again, the persons home they robbed whose kids are afraid at night that someone might come to rob them again.

Lock em up, make them suffer and maybe that will rehabilitate them. If it is so bad they don't want to come back maybe they will plan their future actions a little more carefully.

dominionfs
0
Points
dominionfs 02/09/10 - 10:15 am
0
0
One of those fools was

One of those fools was Markale Robinson. He and his brother are frequent stars of The Jail Report and the offenses get worse each time. Why, coz they get a slap on the wrist from a bleeding heart judicial system who thinks that society is at fault for this young man going off track.

disssman
6
Points
disssman 02/09/10 - 10:16 am
0
0
Did I read right? The ring

Did I read right? The ring leader has been awaiting trial for 32 months? I wonder how many golf games the presiding judge has played during that time? As far as who is responsible, well the one who makes the most, makes the most important decision I alays felt. Maybe he has been playing too much golf too. If you can't see a pig in a poke then quit voting because you are obviously just guessing about candidates.

CobaltGeorge
154962
Points
CobaltGeorge 02/09/10 - 10:29 am
0
0
Chillen, Thank You, Thank

Chillen, Thank You, Thank You. In court rooms and in the minds of most - the VICTIM is the most forgotten piece of evidents in all crimes. You are the first to post "Lets stop for a minute and think about the victims of their crime" (that I have read in most comments). In almost all murder cases, the judge will not even allow a life size picture of the victim to be displayed on the table of the "state" while at the same time the criminal is viewed in a new suit and carrying a bible. Thanks again for showing a feeling for the Victim.

dstewartsr
20389
Points
dstewartsr 02/09/10 - 10:32 am
0
0
One of the problems with

One of the problems with county jails is that whole 'innocent until proven guilty' concept. Most of the postings on this topic both today and the past few days this riot were discussed seem seem either oblivious to it, or willing to toss it aside; I am not. I know some will say that makes me a bleeding heart -- a concept I find risible-- but a thousand years of common law which protects the rights of the majority should not be cast aside to deal with a minority of savages.
There are several commonsense things that could be done. Everyone knows about the pink underwear and tent living in Maricopa County- a way of doing business that horrified 60 Minutes (which makes me believe he is doing something right), but much of what he does there does not excite comment, but it should: For instance, Sheriff Arpaio does not place first time offenders in the general population until after their conviction. But if they offend in his jail while they are awaiting trial, they are allowed the gentle company of like minded individuals. Privileges do not come automatically, but must be earned by good behaviour and may be withdrawn for any infraction. He goes to the court of public opinion to support his officers; any assault on his deputies and the DA has learned not to plea bargain or reduce the charges. It is well known among the population that prisoners have come into the county with six months to one year sentences and left the county jail going to state prison for many years.
One thing neither he, nor our local sheriffs have been successful in is getting the state to live up to their responsibility; no one should be kept by the sheriff who has been convicted and should be in a state prison. It is these men and women who are the leavening of violence and disorder in the local jails. The system was that drunk drivers, check bouncers, deadbeat parents should serve their sentences in jail; prisons were for the rapists and robbers and violent members of society. It has not worked out that way.
I know there are some LEO's on this board; I would like to read their thoughts on this matter.

Leatherneck70
0
Points
Leatherneck70 02/09/10 - 10:46 am
0
0
Most people dont realize what

Most people dont realize what a disaster the law enforcement center has been from the beginning. Due to a short sighted county commission 1985 vintage the building was not built to quality standards. Also if you enter the central control area you will find a blocked up elevator shaft on the back wall. It was blocked during the first phases of construction this is where the elevator shaft for the second tier of cell blocks was to be. Creating another Six floors of cells aleviating over crowding. However the powers that be in their short sighted view decided to cut it out as a cost saving measure. Also Many of the priveliges inmates enjoy are mandated by the Federal Courts. The Sheriff has no Say in it.

puddingtane
0
Points
puddingtane 02/09/10 - 11:37 am
0
0
Maybe you law enforcement

Maybe you law enforcement guys should feed them...., I was told their meals have been cut to twice a day, and once a day on some weekends. I would be trying to steal food trays too.

dani
12
Points
dani 02/09/10 - 02:07 pm
0
0
If you people had someone

If you people had someone locked up, you wouldn't feel like that. Most of these are clean-living, christian men who never broke a law or hurt nobody -OOPS! For a minute there I thought I was a liberal.

AutumnLeaves
6996
Points
AutumnLeaves 02/09/10 - 03:24 pm
0
0
32 months is too long to be

32 months is too long to be waiting for a trial for either the accused or the victim/s or the justice system. What happened to a speedy trial? What happens if an accused person is found not guilty and has been in jail all that time, is anyone accountable for those lost years and the damage that is done to the accused person's mental well-being, lost wages, and damaged reputation?

crackertroy
540
Points
crackertroy 02/09/10 - 05:52 pm
0
0
dstewartsr you're right,
Unpublished

dstewartsr you're right, where are all the Joe Arpaio's of the world? Six officers in the hospital? Bleeding heart liberals are perfectly fine with that. Just make sure no one like Arpaio inconveniences the criminals in anyway.

overburdened_taxpayer
117
Points
overburdened_taxpayer 02/09/10 - 06:57 pm
0
0
Sorry 1941 but Georgia law

Sorry 1941 but Georgia law only allows for Diversion Centers to charge room and board, not jails or prisons. There are a lot of things that RCSO can charge for to recoup some costs though that they don't do.

overburdened_taxpayer
117
Points
overburdened_taxpayer 02/09/10 - 08:10 pm
0
0
crackertroy Tuesday, Feb. 9

crackertroy Tuesday, Feb. 9 4:52 PM "where are all the Joe Arpaio's of the world?" First let me say that I am no liberal. Sheriff Arpaio runs the strictest jail in the US but he is also the most sued Sheriff in the country. He would save his taxpayers more money by spending more than 50 cents a meal to feed the inmates. Richmond County could not afford the lawsuits that he gets because he is so tough. Whether the inmate wins them or not you are still paying to defend against them.

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