- More than 100 inmates at a St. Louis jail revolted on Saturday morning, setting things on fire.
- The riot started after an inmate got into an altercation with a corrections officer.
- Inmates got control of the locks and set other detainees free, who jumped the officer.
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Inmates at a St. Louis jail revolted, set fires, and caused flooding on Saturday morning.
In a press briefing, St. Louis Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards said the riot at the St. Louis City Justice Center began at around 2:30 a.m. and was under control by 10:15 am.
A corrections officer got into a fight with a “defiant” inmate “who was very, very upset.” Other inmates then jumped the officer, Edwards said.
As other jail employees were working to get the officer to safety, inmates accessed a lock panel system and other detainees were released from their cells.
“Even though our automated P.A. system would indicate that the cells are locked, they are in fact not locked and so other detainees were able to get out of their cells and into the unit,” Edwards said.
The incident involved more than 100 inmates. Edwards called the detainees “very violent and aggressive.”
The Associated Press reported that inmates threw a stationary bike, chairs, and mattresses from the broken fourth-floor windows. They also threw items that were on fire.
A spokesman for Mayor Lyda Krewson, Jacob Long, told the AP that one guard was injured and taken to the hospital but has since been released.
There is no cost estimate for the damage yet but Long told the AP that “There are some burn marks on the front of the building. They destroyed the inside of their floor and threw all sorts of stuff outside. They flooded the floors, clogged the toilets, clogged the drains, so there is water damage.”
NBC affiliate KSDK reported that 55 of the men were moved to a segregation unit that has a maximum-security locking system. Another 65 men were transferred to the Medium Security Institution.
The AP previously reported that dozens of inmates were transferred from the facility after two incidents in December and January.
The disturbances stemmed from concerns over the coronavirus and restrictions in the jail. However, none of the more than 600 inmates at the facility have tested positive for the virus as of Friday.
“I imagine they are under the same amount of stress due to COVID restrictions like the rest of us are,” Long told the AP. “Courts haven’t been hearing cases in the 22nd Judicial Circuit. Their family visits have been restricted. But also they are acting out and that is the current situation.”