Family of CJC inmate beaten Saturday wants answers | ‘We’re fearing for his safety’

Corrections officers had to deploy an irritant spray to break things up.
Published: Feb. 7, 2022 at 9:12 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- St. Louis City officials are on the defense Sunday, for at least the sixth time in less than a year. This comes after another disturbance erupted Saturday morning inside the City Justice Center, leaving four inmates injured.

The city’s safety director, Dan Isom, tells News 4 just after midnight Saturday, about a dozen inmates began beating four other detainees inside a pod. Isom says they were out for normal recreation hours, which end at 1 a.m.

Isom says corrections officers had to deploy an irritant spray to break things up. News 4 talked to family members of an inmate who was badly injured in Saturday’s incident. They’re wanting answers from city officials and jail staff.

“He got stabbed in the face and beaten really bad. We’re just trying to get some answers here because we’re fearing for his safety,” Shonda Traylor said.

Traylor’s brother was one of the four inmates beaten Saturday morning by other detainees inside the CJC. She says this wasn’t the first time he was beaten inside this specific jail.

“It keeps happening and seems like no one can get anything under control here, and it’s not fair to the inmates because they are human as well. They shouldn’t be treated like this,” Traylor said.

Isom said the city is looking to the incident.

“The St. Louis Police Department has already completed a police report and charges will be filed against the persons involved in the attack,” Isom said.

While Isom says corrections officers used an irritant spray to stop the attack, the Traylor’s say their brother says the fight lasted for several hours. They want to know why force from corrections officers wasn’t taken sooner.

“You can’t say that you was prepared on the strength that if you was, it wouldn’t take two hours for y’all to get things under control for that to happen for so long,” Starr Traylor, another sister, said.

While city leaders put the blame on faulty locks, one corrections officer who wishes to remain anonymous, tells News 4 that’s only one catalyst.

“Even before the last two riots, that stuff’s just gonna keep getting worse and worse and worse. The inmates know we’re outnumbered, they know we can only respond to one unit at a time, they know we’re understaffed, and they know ultimately, they are in control,” the corrections officer explained.

In previous interviews with News 4, city leaders have said staff at the CJC is adequate. As for the locks, leaders say it’ll be months until there’s a permanent fix.

“They never said they’d be locked up and treated like animals, or less than animals, because animals get treated better than that. It’s not right,” Shonda Traylor said.