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Four white inmates charged in racially-motivated fight; local African Americans say it's not enough

Published On: Jul 25 2013 08:43:27 PM CDT   Updated On: Jul 25 2013 02:00:00 AM CDT
REDDING, Calif. -

A racially motivated fight that broke out in the Shasta County jail has members of the African-American community crying foul, including one of the victims.

It happened May 26 on a Sunday, right before dinner.

In the surveillance video taken that night,  a white inmate is seen gesturing animatedly in the center of the room. Then, just a few moments later, a black inmate takes the first swing.

That's when the fight began.

Several white inmates attacked each of the four black inmates, easily outnumbering them. The fight lasted less than a minute.

You can see one black inmate pushed, or thrown, across the room and over the table.

Nearly 35 seconds after the fight started, the first correctional officers entered the room with a tasers in hand.

Things calmed down for a moment, but another fight broke out in the entry way just seconds later.

According to officers' reports, three black inmates were tased, and one officer was inadvertently tased.

The whole fight last about 55 seconds.

All four black inmates were taken to the hospital and treated for injuries.

Four white inmates have been charged with misdemeanor assault with a felony hate crime enhancement.

Some local African Americans say that the reaction is not enough, including one of the inmates who is now out of jail.

"When they started this, they said 11 were going to be charged," said Jared Brox, "and I thought that was too little, because there were at least 20 people involved."

We talked to Sheriff Tom Bosenko, who says he stands by his officer's reports.

"The case was fully investigated by jail staff in an unbiased and fair manner. It had nothing to do with the races of the individuals as far as the investigation went," Bosenko said.

The Deputy District Attorney Tom Toller, who is charging the four white men, said that because of the chaos, he is only comfortable charging the white inmates who started it.

Shasta County NAACP President Ricky Bennett said he would like to see a few more white inmates charged, but he is glad to see the instigators going to court.