A faulty locking system at the St.Louis Justice Centre in Atlanta allowed inmates to escape from their cells and cause widespread damage on floors, smashing windows and sending flaming debris to the sidewalk below, St.Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
About 115 inmates at the downtown city jail took control of the City Justice Centre’s fourth floor, set fires, clogged toilets, flooded parts of the floor, and caused other damages.
Photo: Courtesy of St.Louis Post-Dispatch
“These were just very angry, defiant, very violent people that we house at the Justice Center,” Jimmie Edwards, city’s director of public safety, told reporters.
Mathew Mahaffey, head of public defender in the city of St.Louis, who also represents many of the inmates at the center, said he was not surprised at the uprising.
“We’ve had people locked up for well over half of the year without a preliminary hearing,” Mahaffey told St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Mahaffey said the Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner abuse a rule of criminal procedures. He said that Gardner and the judges keep defendants locked up before trial without allowing them their day in court.
According to AJC Atlanta News Now, 65 inmates have since been transferred. No injuries were reported. Among 633 people jailed at the St.Louis Justice Centre, there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Despite authorities and the media reporting that there are no COVID-19 active cases in the center, an inmate said he was never tested for the virus. An inmate by the name Cortez Easterwood-Bey ( IMN #6694) posted a lengthy letter on Facebook describing the reason behind the riot and the inhumane conditions the inmates go through at the Justice Centre.
“I personally was never tested for COVID during my entire arrest and lockup, October 2020 to present,” he said.
“I have been denied my repeated requests for temperature checks, COVID test kit, nose swab or blood check.”
“I was denied a shower for at least 2 weeks. How is it that not only do I have to protect myself against violence from much younger inmates, I now have to be strategically conscious of protecting my desire to continue to live and breathe unencumbered by a deadly pandemic-level worldwide virus because correctional staff intentionally placed me and others in dangerous conditions,” Easterwood-Bey said.
According to him, the jail cells and other areas are cold and never sanitized between inmates. The conditions are horrible.
“We are dying at CJC in unheard-of numbers and being intentionally infected at alarming rates. In my homeland, that is the civilized country of America …. THIS IS GENOCIDE.”
Facebook letter posted by inmate Cortez Easterwood-Bey describing his experience.
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