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Former jail guard who looked on as detainees attack man inside cell sentenced

Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 6:46 AM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - A former St. Louis corrections officer who admitted to letting two detainees attack a man inside his cell in 2021 was sentenced to four years in prison.

Demeria Thomas, 38, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of deprivation of rights under the color of law under her plea agreement.

A disturbing four-minute jailhouse footage shows two male inmates walking up to talk to Thomas, a former corrections officer, at the podium on the fourth floor in the Bravo unit at the St. Louis City Justice Center on March 22. According to police, the controls for all the cell doors were located at the podium. Moments later, Thomas is seen on camera opening the victim’s cell door, allowing the first inmate to go in and assault him.

Warning: The video is graphic and may be disturbing to some viewers.

The assailant then attacked the man for more than three minutes, punching and kicking him in the cell. Then, the second inmate entered the cell and joined in the assault. Other inmates can be seen running toward the assault, but Thomas told them to stay where they were. Officials said Thomas ordered the attackers to leave and closed the cell door. She also at no point called for help or tried to stop the assault, according to charging documents.

The victim suffered a concussion and a broken jaw as well as multiple wounds on his face and neck. Police said Thomas never reported the assault, and never sought medical help for the man. It was only two days later when someone else saw his injuries that he was taken to the hospital.

The victim’s mother said he still suffers PTSD, headaches and seizures from the attack. She said, “the person who was supposed to keep him safe is the one who instigated this attack.”

Thomas, 38, previously pleaded guilty to a felony charge of deprivation of rights under the color of law under her plea agreement.