ST. LOUIS – A missing jail video of an alleged inmate beating is at the center of a new lawsuit filed against the St. Louis Justice Center.
The alleged cover-up was discovered when attorney Mark Pedroli requested video from a July 3rd incident in which an inmate said he was beaten and maced.
Pedroli said he was given two videos: a video showing officers in an overlook area called the “bird’s nest, and a second angle in the jail showing corrections officers walking handcuffed inmates. The second angle reveals a tense altercation that’s quickly broken up.
Pedroli said he learned something happened prior, on a third angle he did not see or receive.
“And apparently a more violent incident that involved macing and other inmates,” he said. “We know they didn’t produce it because on the tape they did produce, you can hear the correctional officers discussing what had just occurred five minutes before.”
Pedroli heard the conversation when going through hours of video from officers talking in the bird’s nest.
“I think they were hoping that we would overlook that, or we wouldn’t have listened,” he said.
When Pedroli requested the additional angle, he was told the jail does not have it.
“There’s two options – it’s either been destroyed or they’re hiding it. One of the two,” he said.
Pedroli filed a lawsuit Monday under the Missouri Sunshine Law. He’s simply suing for the video on behalf of the inmate’s mother.
The inmate is not named in the lawsuit which says in part, “… St. Louis City employees purposefully destroyed and/or allowed the video records requested by plaintiff to be destroyed.”
Pedroli said the city’s own rules say they must keep video evidence for 60 days and that he requested it well before that deadline. He says the missing video is bigger than his lawsuit. He says it also hurts the city’s ability to police itself.
A Mayor’s Office spokesperson said the city could not comment because of the pending litigation.