Eight guards were fired Friday in the beating death of an inmate last month at a crowded, long-troubled jail.

State officials would not say exactly what role the guards had in the death of Raymond Smoot (search). The case is under investigation, and no charges have been filed.

"This department does not and will not tolerate unnecessary or excessive use of force," said Mary Ann Saar (search), Maryland secretary of public safety and correctional services.

The violence erupted May 14 at the state-run Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center (search) after a guard had trouble getting Smoot back in his cell and called for backup, authorities said.