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Racial slurs cause jail fight, sheriff says

Published On: Jun 18 2013 02:03:08 PM CDT   Updated On: Jun 18 2013 02:33:53 PM CDT

Grant Co. Sheriff's Dept.

Thomas Lazarius-Richwalski and Timmy L. Johnson

LANCASTER, Wis. -

Authorities said racially driven comments sparked a fight between two inmates in Grant County Jail.

The Grant County Sheriff's Department said Thomas Lazarius-Richwalski, 18, of Blue River, described as white, made racial comments toward Timmy L. Johnson, 24, of Platteville, who is described as black, on Friday evening.

Jail staff told the sheriff's department that the two inmates fought at about 8:15 p.m. in a cell in J-Block after the comments were made.

Sheriff Nate Dreckman said while occasional fights are common in the six-to-eight inmate cellblock,

"We do, every couple weeks, have a little squabble or fight," Dreckman said. "But this was unique because of the racial statements made prior to [the incident]."

The sheriff said Lazarius was charged in Grant County with one count of disorderly conduct, and the charge was noted as a hate crime.

Johnson was charged with battery by a prisoner, according to the report.

Dreckman said Johnson was not injured in the fight and Lazarius was evaluated by the jail nurse but did not require treatment.

None of the jail staff were injured, Dreckman added.

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