From a witness to May's "Yuma Melee" (statement dated October 9, 2013)
"I was an inmate during the time at the Dakota Unit when the riot occurred and I was fortunate to not be invovled, but I happened to see the ordeal at its entirety. The initial issue stemmed from a black inmate who sold a Chief (member of the Native American gang) inmate some black tar heroin cut with coffee - the other races had requested for the blacks to "clean up their back yard" and smash that black guy for his actions, but they continued t refuse so during recreation on May 29th, 2013, I had a birds' eye view out of my cell window when all the Mexicans (New Mexican Mafia) Whites (Aryan Brotherhood) and Chiefs went after all of the blacks.
Now be assured this consisted of over 400 inmates for almost 8 minutes. There are two rec fields that consist of 200 inmates, two housing pods were staging/lining up for the chow hall which consissted of another 100 inmates, two chow halls had 50 inmates in each one, the kitchen workers and education building all sturck full force at the same time. The CO's were in complete panic firing off tear gas from the gun tower. Several inmates were even stabbed. I seen it with my own two eyes. It was ugly and nerve-wracking...
The state/DOC seems to be working with the AB and the EME (New Mexican Mafia) gangs which somehow stems to money. The drug trade in here thrives before ANYTHING else - no other thing matters or comes first - drugs of all kinds flood the GP yards statewide and lots of money is made..."
ORIGINAL POST OF MAY 30, 2013
FYI: I'm compiling a report for the US Department of Justice right now about the violence in AZ DOC prisons and the problems with the protective custody process (805), whereby it's impossible for male prisoners to refuse to "join" the gangs (which often involves assaulting another prisoner) - much less just refuse to follow their stupid racist, homphobic, patriarchal rules - without being victimized themselves, yet many guys still refuse. All reports of violence that folks are aware could be useful as I put this thing together, so please send them to me at email@example.com.
According to Andrew Wilder, Arizona Department of Corrections director of communications, at about 2:30 p.m., two inmates began fighting inside the close-custody Dakota Unit yard.
“This fight escalated to involve additional inmates,” Wilder said. “There were a total of about 100 inmates in the outdoor yard area at the time – however it's not the case that all of these inmates participated in the incident.”
AZDOC officers responded quickly to stop the fight and were able to secure the unit within three minutes, Wilder noted, adding there were no injuries to prison staff reported.
The Dakota Unit will remain locked down while this incident continues to be investigated. No other details were available as of press time Wednesday.
ASPC–Yuma is located at 7125 E. Juan Sanchez Blvd. near San Luis, Ariz., and houses over 4,000 inmates in five separate units.