On Sunday night, four Larimer County Jail inmates allegedly squirted a feces-and-urine blend at deputies using shampoo bottles, causing a significant flood in the process.
Unprecedented? Not according to Larimer County Sheriff's Office public information officer John Schulz, who says such coordination is uncommon, but not the use of bodily solids and fluids.
Feces festivities "seem like they happen on a regular basis," he says. "The inmates are always doing things with their feces that are really quite disgusting. They're not always throwing it at deputies, but they're doing other things, like smearing it on windows. It's not a good thing."
It got worse on Sunday evening around 7 p.m. At that time, according to Schulz, four inmates poured out their shampoo and filled the bottles with the stuff they'd emptied out of themselves. Then they opened fire, flooding not only their cell but an adjacent common area. At that point, the facility's Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) was called out, along with a K-9 unit.
Bet that dog thought he'd gone to heaven -- but not the deputies, who had to deal with a spreading flood and uncooperative inmates who soon blocked themselves in their cells. One subsequently surrendered, but the other three refused to follow orders until jail personnel began removing the cell doors. At that point, jail administrator Captain Tim Palmer managed to convince them to remove the barricades.
At this writing, neither the names of the amateur sewage workers nor formal charges they'll face have been released. But prospective counts include rioting in a detention facility (by statute, four people qualify as a riot, Schulz says), which could lead to a two-to-ten-year sentence that would likely be served consecutively with their current jolt. Other possibilities include second-degree assault on a peace officer, with the effluent being considered a weapon of sorts, plus criminal mischief and obstructing government operations.
Schulz concedes that jail officials don't inform the public every time poo is flung -- because there'd be a constant stream of such reports, as it were. But in this case, "it was an orchestrated attempt by four different inmates working in conjunction to cause a disturbance," he notes. "That raises it to a pretty high level within the facility. We regularly have people who get upset and do different things; that's just part of what happens in a jail. But the fact that the common area was flooded makes it unusual. Again, like the feces thing, flooding cells is pretty common, but flooding the common area isn't something we see very often."
As for why it happened, "my guess is that no specific event spurred it," Schulz says. "These people are in the highest-security level of the facility and are in their cells most of the day. A lot of times, when an individual inmate acts out, it'll be because they've gotten bad news from their attorney or gotten into a fight with their significant other on the phone. But in this case, what would cause all four of them to do this at the same time isn't clear, and I'm not sure there has to be a triggering event. I went back and read through reports for the previous few days to see if something significant had happened in that area, and I didn't see anything out of the ordinary. So it might have just happened.
"It's interesting that people are so shocked about the feces thing," he adds. "I guess people don't realize that deputies have to deal with this kind of thing regularly."
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