Fox Files: Shocking jail video shows corrections officer’s role in inmate’s assault

FOX Files

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Jail video obtained exclusively by FOX 2 looks like it’s straight out of a movie. The disturbing video shows an inmate’s attack on another inmate and also appears to show a corrections officer who knew about it and watched it.

The incident occurred March 22, 2021, at the St. Louis Justice Center inside a special wing for inmates with mental health challenges called “Four Bravo.” That’s the same floor where a riot broke out a month prior and citizens could see inmates behind broken windows.

A second riot—that broke out on another floor—happened after this incident.

The video starts with two inmates talking to a corrections officer at her podium. The two inmates are about to attack a man in a cell at the lower left of the screen.

A St. Louis Police report says the corrections officer was Demeria Thomas. She now stands charged with third-degree assault for what you’re about to see in the video. She declined to comment on the matter with FOX 2.

The police report describes the video, saying you can see and hear the corrections officer pressing a button that controls the victim inmate’s door.

Another camera inside the cell is partially concealed but you can still see the first attacker inside another man’s cell. The police report says the attacker is a gang member and you can see him beating the other inmate, sometimes slamming him against a wall.

Back outside, the video shows an inmate upstairs who seems to hear something happening. He excitedly starts to run down until you can hear the corrections officer warn, “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 to stay where he is.
The beating continues inside the cell with another attacker joining in. It’s now lasted more than 30 seconds. The corrections officer walks over and tell 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 asked for privacy, declining to comment, but connected us to their civil rights attorney Mark Pedroli who 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.”

The former corrections’ officer’s attorney, Terence Niehoff, wrote to FOX 2, 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 says his client has still failed to receive appropriate medical care.

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