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Lawsuit says video of St. Louis jail altercation destroyed or withheld

Lawsuit says video of St. Louis jail altercation destroyed or withheld

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ST. LOUIS — A lawsuit says that jail officials either destroyed or have not turned over video of an altercation between an inmate in the St. Louis Justice Center and a guard in July.

The inmate, who is not named in the suit, was injured in the July 3 incident at the city’s downtown jail, lawyer Mark Pedroli said Friday. Pedroli, who was contacted by the inmate’s mother, Dana Mays, requested copies of any video of the altercation via Missouri’s Sunshine Law. Officials did not turn over video of the incident, just its aftermath, the suit says.

The suit, filed in St. Louis Circuit Court on Oct. 1, says city officials are violating the law by failing to turn over the video. Officials did not say the video was exempt from release under the Sunshine Law, the suit says. The act requires public bodies to turn over records unless they have a legal reason to withhold them. Officials have either failed to turn over the video, destroyed it or allowed it to be destroyed, the suit says.

“We are alleging that someone at the jail either deliberately destroyed or did not produce these records,” Pedroli said.

Pedroli also said he’d been in contact with federal investigators.

“The FBI has shown interest, as they should,” he said. “If our allegations are true, this is a matter of public corruption.”

A mayoral spokesman declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.

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