Florida: A Fatal Ruckus

At Road Prison No. 32 in Florida's piney Panhandle region, Guard Arnie Oree Lovett doused the main lights in the barracks one night last week. All was quiet, and he settled down in his wire cage, which protruded into the building, allowing him to watch the twelve white and 39 Negro prisoners—some of them "close custody" convicts who must be guarded at all times. When one prisoner, following standard practice, asked permission to leave his bunk for the bathroom, Lovett thought nothing about it. The next moment a riot erupted—or in Dixie parlance, a "ruckus." Normally, it involves some...

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