Denver inmate arrested for inciting riot over COVID protocols

Coronavirus

DENVER (KDVR) — A Denver inmate has been charged with inciting a riot at the downtown detention center Saturday morning.

The inmate, 49-year-old Jimmy West, who goes by Littlebear, was also arrested for second-degree assault after biting a deputy, deputies said. West tried to stage a riot when deputies attempted to move a group of inmates out of a fourth floor pod because of a COVID outbreak in the pod, deputies said.

According to a probable cause statement obtained by the Problem Solvers, West is known as the “pod boss” and “began inciting approximately 40 other inmates, moving freely about the pod, to resist orders, yelling they (the inmates) own the pod and do not have to move.”

As the deputies attempted to contain West, the 40 inmates “began counting deputies as they arrived, yelling more officers were needed, yelling deputies were outnumbered, and threatening violence.” 

Police said three inmates physically attempted to interfere with deputies taking West into custody, and other deputies feared a riot was imminent.

During the arrest, West and a deputy fell to the ground and West allegedly bit the deputy on his calf. 

Last week, FOX31 reported COVID cases had more than doubled in Denver’s two jails since a public health order was issued Sept. 22 to try to bring case counts down.

On Sept. 22, the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment identified 61 inmates and four staff members at the downtown detention center who tested positive for COVID-19.

By Oct. 8, the number had grown to 152 positive cases at the detention center, plus 11 more cases at the county jail.

As of Oct. 10, the numbers have dropped slightly to 147 cases at the downtown detention center and nine cases at the county jail.

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