This morning Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal held a press conference to provide information on an assault on a correctional deputy by two inmates in the Humboldt County Correctional Facility.
Correctional deputy Dillon Huffman was making routine rounds in the jail’s maximum security unit Wednesday evening when a pair of inmates, Lorence Bailey and Jonah Little, summoned him into their cell — Honsal said they wanted to show Huffman some of their art. As Huffman entered the cell the two attacked him with a flurry of fists.
Huffman quickly backed out of the cell and, somewhat amazingly, was able to radio for help while defending himself against a two-on-one assault for around 35 seconds. When backup arrived Bailey and Little immediately dropped to the floor, effectively surrendering.
Deputy Huffman received minor injuries, including contusions and abrasions to the face, but remained in good spirits according to his colleagues. He was treated at St. Joseph Hospital and is expected to return to work tomorrow.
Honsal had a lot to say about the increase in violence in the jail in recent years, a trend he ties to the passage of AB 109, the 2011 legislation which realigned California’s prison system. According to HCSO’s records, there have already been 22 violent incidents in the jail this year compared to only two in 2014. Honsal attributes the rise to the jail being constantly at near capacity, often with inmates that would never have been housed at the county level only a few years ago.
As for the two inmates involved in Wednesday’s assault, Honsal suspects they were attempting to prove their toughness to outside gangs. There had not been any previous disagreements between Huffman and either Bailey or Little.
“These guys are straight up thugs,” Honsal said of Huffman’s attackers.
The Sheriff’s Office has released video of Wednesday’s incident, above, as well as the press release below:
On Wednesday August 9, 2017 at about 1920 hours, Correctional Deputy Dillon Huffman was assigned to work in a Maximum Security Housing Unit. While conducting his routine cell checks on the second tier he was lured into a cell which housed two inmates, Lorence Bailey and Jonah Little.
When Deputy Huffman opened the cell door and partially stepped inside he was savagely attacked by the two inmates. As Deputy Huffman backed out of the cell and attempted to defend himself, the inmates began punching Huffman in the face and body. During the assault Deputy Huffman was able to broadcast enough radio traffic to alert other Correctional Deputies of the assault in progress. Deputy Huffman proceeded to fight for his life, for approximately 34 seconds, until backup arrived.
Once responding deputies arrived in the housing unit both inmates immediately laid on the ground and surrendered. They were taken into secured custody where they face disciplinary hearing for their violent behavior. The Sheriff’s Office will seek that both Bailey and Little be charged with assault on a correctional deputy causing injury. Deputy Huffman was taken to St. Joseph Hospital where he was treated and released for numerous contusions and abrasions from the assault. Deputy Huffman is expected to make a full recovery from his injuries.
Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office.