ST. LOUIS – The Justice Center riot that unfolded in front of everyone’s eyes may force jail leaders to answer questions they’ve so far ignored. It involves the Nov. 2020 death of Kevin Cavins, whose case FOX 2 has covered for months.
Cavins’ sister, Angi Pirtle, returned to the St. Louis Justice Center to see where her brother mysteriously died.
“He was a father. He was a very loving person. There is so much to say but he’s still not here,” she said. “It’s one of those things that describing him just brings so much emotion and I have him at home sitting in a box. That’s all I have left of him. There’s more they could have done to prevent that.”
Images of this month’s riot renewed Pirtle’s trauma. She can only guess what happened to her brother inside. More than 100 days have passed since her brother died. Pirtle said she’s treated as though he never existed.
“As soon as I asked questions about what happened I stopped receiving phone calls,” she said.
Some city leaders were surprised that FOX 2 knew someone died inside the Justice Center this past November. When we started asking questions, Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards said they couldn’t talk about it because of a lawsuit.
However, there is no lawsuit. But Pirtle is beginning to think that’s what it will take to learn the truth.
“The only reason I ended up retaining a lawyer is due to the fact of them not giving me anything,” she said. “Had they come out and told me, ‘Hey, this is what happened, we’re going to give you this evidence to prove what happened,’ I would have never even imagined getting a lawyer.”
Pirtle did receive a police report that indicates her brother, who had just been brought in on a probation violation, was sick and that a jail medication was making him sicker. The report describes a witness who said, “…Cavins mentioned that he was having some type of negative reaction from the medication he was given by staff…” The report continues, “…Cavins informed correctional officers and nurses of this issue at least three times.”
Pirtle at first wondered if her brother was impacted by drugs. Three inmates were rushed to hospitals after simultaneously overdosing in the weeks following her brother’s death.
Corrections officers tell FOX 2 drug use is rampant in the justice center. One current officer who did not want to be identified said, “I’ve never seen this amount of drugs in the jail.”
But Cavins’ toxicology screen hasn’t come back. Those results typically take six weeks. We’re now on week 15 to hear what, if anything, was in Cavins’ system.
Pirtle wants to know what the jail gave him that this police report indicates was making her brother sicker.
FOX 2 will follow her continued fight for the truth about what killed her brother as we’ve now reached 101 days with no answers from city authorities.