Denver County Jail under scrutiny after 2 serious altercations within 3 months

DENVER -- The Denver County Jail is under scrutiny again after another inmate was seriously injured.

That inmate was getting ready to go to court when he was beaten unconscious. By all accounts, it was a vicious beating Friday morning.

Sources said one inmate beat another -- and kept beating him -- even after he had passed out.

The attack happened beneath the downtown courthouse.

Two inmates were in a holding cell waiting to see a judge when the fight broke out. It sent a 28-year-old inmate to Denver Health Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.

The latest assault comes three months after another altercation between inmates left a man dead.

In that case, a 19-year-old was accused of killing 42-year-old William Anderson.

Michael Britton with the Denver Sheriffs Fraternal Order of Police said inmate-on-inmate violence is getting worse.

He said it’s only a matter of time before more officers are injured as well.

“Every day, we are having to respond to fights throughout the jail," Britton said. "The jail is no safer now than what it was prior to three years ago.“

According the Colorado Independent, the number of inmate on inmate assaults in the Denver and County jails have increased by 784 percent since 2011.

Jail violence across the state is so bad, a state committee has been set up to investigate the cause.

“When you are in cramped situations, tempers flare," State Sen. Rhonda Fields said at a hearing. "When your situation is like that desperate things happen, a crisis can happen, riots can happen.”

In the latest Denver case, the attacker is described as a maximum-security inmate who never should been mixed in with a lower-level offender.

“What happens is you get these predatory inmates and they take advantage of the fact that they’re not properly housed where they should be," Britton said.

A new round of questions are surfacing after the latest attack. The fight was captured by surveillance cameras, but it has not been released.

The Denver Police Department said it is investigating the fight, but it’s not clear if a wider investigation will take place to see if it could have been prevented.