BREAKING NEWS: 115 prisoners take over St. Louis jail
BREAKING NEWS – 115 violent prisoners take over St. Louis jail: Inmates set fires, injure guard and throw chairs out of smashed windows in anger over ‘unsafe’ conditions during the pandemic
- 115 ‘extremely violent and noncompliant’ inmates took over the St. Louis City Justice Center in the early hours of Saturday morning
- The group were reportedly able to ‘jimmy the locks’ of their cells before they overpowered prison guards
- The inmates set several fires and smashed windows; one corrections officer was injured and firefighters were called to the scene
- St. Louis Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards said the men are serving sentences for serious violent offences, such as murder and assault
- According to officials, 633 people are currently incarcerated at the prison which is located in downtown St. Louis
- In late December and early January, dozens of inmates were transferred out of the St. Louis City Justice Center after two separate disturbances’
- According to reports, inmates have been fearful of a COVID-19 outbreak and complaining of conditions that could lead to infection
- The rioting inmates were ‘all back in custody’ by 10 am
More than 100 prisoners have taken over a St. Louis jail, setting fires, smashing glass and throwing objects from the prison’s fourth-floor windows.
The disturbance began around 3am at the St. Louis City Justice Center, with dozens of law enforcement officials spending seven hours struggling to restore order.
One corrections officer has been left injured in the melee, while fire crews rushed to the scene to douse the blazes the prisoners had started.
Jacob Long, a spokesman for Democrat Mayor Lyda Krewson, described the 115 inmates participating in the takeover as ‘extremely violent and noncompliant’. The group also ‘flooded floors and clogged toilets’.
He claimed the violent incident may have been fueled by concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions that have limited visits and stalled court proceedings.
There are currently 633 inmates housed at the facility – located in the city’s downtown area – and there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus inside.
Officials released a statement saying all rioting inmates were ‘back in custody’ as of 10am.
More than 100 prisoners have taken over a St. Louis jail, setting fires, smashing glass and throwing objects from the prison’s fourth-floor windows
The inmates were seen lighting bed sheets before waving them outside the smashed-out windows during the siege
The violent incident may have been fueled by concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions that have limited visits and stalled court proceedings
In late December and early January, dozens of inmates were transferred out of the St. Louis City Justice Center after two separate disturbances stemming from fears of COVID-19.
‘I imagine they are under the same amount of stress due to COVID restrictions like the rest of us are,’ Long stated.
‘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,’ he added.
Tens of thousands of prisoners across the country have qualified for early release amid the coronavirus pandemic, with officials worried the virus may spread through the prison system nationwide.
According to a government website, the City Justice Center is ‘a state of the art facility opened in 2002. The six story building has the capacity to hold 860 inmates’.
St. Louis Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards held a press conference shortly after 10am, describing the inmates as ‘very violent and aggressive.’
‘These are angry, defiant, violent people that we housed at the justice center. There is no one housed for misdemeanor, municipal offense or a low-level felony. These are assaults on a police officer, homicide, things of that sort,’ he stated, according to KSDK.
Edwards claimed that the detainees are able to ‘jimmy their locks’ and several inmates were able to get into a hallway before breaching a second unit on the fourth floor of the facility.
Only the fourth floor was taken over, and the bottom three levels – which also hold inmates – were not breached.
As daylight broke on Saturday morning, some spectators gathered outside the St. Louis City Justice Center as videos posted on social media showed inmates holding signs on an upper floor of the facility
Several prisoners were seen standing by a smashed window in the early hours of Saturday morning
Chairs, trash cans and other items are seen on the ground outside the facility after having been hurled out of fourth-floor windows by the angry inmates. A plume of smoke is also seen in the distance, but it is unclear whether it is in any way related to the small fires that were set inside
As daylight broke on Saturday morning, some spectators gathered outside the St. Louis City Justice Center as videos posted on social media showed inmates holding signs on an upper floor of the facility.
The prisoners were all clad in yellow jumpsuits.
Edwards says around 55 inmates have now been moved to a ‘segregation unit’ which has ‘a maximum security locking system’.
A further 65 have been transferred to the nearby St. Louis Medium Security Institution, commonly known as The St. Louis Workhorse.
The Workhorse, which opened in 1966, been subject to numerous controversies regarding its living conditions.
Various lawsuits have referenced the institution’s ‘poor sanitation, limited ventilation, and poor medical care’.
Some spectators are seen outside the prison on Saturday morning
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