ST. LOUIS – Persistent questions about conditions at the St. Louis Justice Center were part of the discussion during Monday night’s meeting of the City of St. Louis Department of Public Safety Detention Facilities Oversight Board.

The board voted Monday to move forward with an investigation into the death of detainee Carlton Bernard. FOX 2 recently reported on how the board was surprised to hear about Bernard’s death.

There was debate Monday over whether the committee could investigate at the same time the police are investigating and whether that would violate the ordinance creating the oversight board. In the end, board members voted to move forward.

After the vote, board chair Rev. Darryl Gray said, “Our job is to ensure that the rights of detainees are not violated and that everyone who sets foot in that center, be a detainee, guard, or administrative staff,are safe and secure and that there’s no violation of their health.”

Earlier in the day, the St. Louis City NAACP and the Missouri Baptist State Convention of Missouri released a statement calling for greater transparency. Adolphus Pruitt II, president of the St. Louis chapter of the NAACP, questioned how much cooperation the oversight board will receive from those in authority.

“I doubt that they seriously want to put you in position where you can uncover things that increases or enhances liability against the city,” Pruitt told the board.

Activist Jamala Rogers encouraged the board not to be deterred.

“You have been empowered by citizens who pay the salaries of the folks who are keeping you from doing your job,” she said.

Officials with the Department of Public Safety have said detainees are fed three meals per day and offered phone and video calls.

A spokesperson for the St. Louis Department of Public Safety disputes any notion the board has not been allowed to do its work, calling those assertions reckless and adding that DPS is committed to the board being able to perform its duties per city ordinances 71430 and 71647.

The spokesperson stated that members of the oversight board are also required to undergo training that has yet to be completed. During Monday’s meeting, Gray said he hoped that training would be completed in the next 30 to 45 days.