ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KTVI) – Disturbing jail video that shows inmates attacking another prisoner also appears to show a corrections officer watching it happen.
The incident occurred on March 22 at the St. Louis Justice Center inside a special wing for inmates with mental health challenges. That’s the same floor where a riot broke out a month prior and citizens could see inmates behind broken windows.
According to a St. Louis Police report, corrections officer Demeria Thomas now stands charged with third-degree assault. She declined to comment on the matter with KTVI.
The video, obtained exclusively by KTVI, starts with two inmates talking to Thomas at her podium before the two allegedly attack a man in a nearby cell.
The police report describes the video, saying you can see and hear the corrections officer pressing a button that controls the attacked inmate’s door.
Another camera inside the cell is partially concealed but still shows the first attacker – described in the report as a gang member – inside the cell beating the other inmate, sometimes slamming him against a wall.
Outside the cell, video shows an inmate upstairs who appears to hear something happening. He starts to run down, then the corrections officer can be heard warning, “Don’t run down here. Stay where you at. Stay where you at.”
Then you can hear her warn another inmate on the other side of the room to stay where he is.
The beating continues inside the cell with another attacker joining in. After more than 30 seconds, the corrections officer is seen walking over and telling the attackers it’s over.
“Come on out. Come on out of there,” she says.
The police report alleges that the officer did not allow the victim to get medical attention and that the victim’s broken jaw was only discovered two days later when another officer noticed cuts and bruises to his face.
The victim’s family, asking for privacy, declining to comment. However, their civil rights attorney, Mark Pedroli, wrote, “The unimaginable happened at the City Justice Center. With the assistance of a government employee, my client was beaten relentlessly until unconscious, and as he lay there helpless, he was refused emergency medical care for days. It’s time for the City of St. Louis to step up, take responsibility, and be accountable.”
St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones did not comment publicly, but her office issued the following statement: “Ms. Thomas was officially removed from her duties as of April 5, 2021, after the investigation into her conduct as a corrections officer.”
Thomas’s attorney, Terence Niehoff, wrote to KTVI, saying, “Ms. Thomas’ actions, while they may subject her to disciplinary action with the department of corrections, were not criminal.”
Thomas has a hearing this week. Meanwhile, Pedroli said his client still has not received appropriate medical care.