(NY POST) – Newly released video shows California inmates sniffing masks and sharing drinks in a “dangerous plot” to get the coronavirus — mistakenly thinking it would get them sprung from the slammer, according to officials.
In the clip, inmates at the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic can be seen passing around a worn mask among their group, taking it in turns to raise it to their faces, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Monday.
Another group of around 20 inmates can also be seen sharing cups and bottles, even though they would normally have their own drinks, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said as he released the footage Monday.
They also chugged hot water just before a nurse took their temperatures, the sheriff said — hoping it would look like they had a fever.
Villanueva said the “deeply disturbing” footage was found after his officers investigated why there was “a very noticeable” spike in infections at the lockup in late April.
“As a direct result of the behavior seen in the video, 21 men tested positive for COVID-19 within a week,” the sheriff said.
Villanueva said the inmates made their “intentions obvious” because they do not normally share drinks and had “plenty of space in which to observe physical distancing.”
“It’s sad to think that someone would deliberately try to expose themselves to COVID-19,” Villanueva said.
“Well, there’s a reason why these people are behind bars to begin with — because they violate the norms of society,” he said.
The sheriff blamed the death-defying behavior on a “mistaken belief” that infected inmates would automatically get released. “That’s not going to happen,” he insisted.