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78 inmates get into jailhouse brawl in Los Angeles

AP File Photo/Damian Dovarganes

Deputies at the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Twin Towers Correctional Facility, seen in 2007, had to pepper spray inmates to break up a brawl there Wednesday.

A fight between four people behind bars at a Los Angeles County jail spiraled into a brawl involving 78 inmates on Wednesday, forcing deputies to use pepper spray and sting grenades to quell the disturbance.

The fight at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility, which occurred at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, was "divided along racial lines" in a housing pod of the jail's Tower 1, according to Captain Mike Parker of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. It wasn't clear what set off the inmates. 

Seven inmates were taken to the hospital for minor to moderate injuries, officials said, and all 78 were treated for exposure to pepper spray as a precaution. None suffered serious injuries, and no sheriff's department personnel were hurt.

Deputies tried ordering the inmates to stop fighting, but resorted to the pepper spray and sting balls -- hand-thrown rubber pellets that produce a stinging sensation on the skin when they detonate -- when they didn't comply, Parker said. No other force was used, and the brawl ended after 15 minutes.

The Twin Towers Correctional Facility is located in downtown Los Angeles.

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