Inmates Say Guards Forced Them to Fight ‘gladiator-style’
Thirty inmates at a St. Louis jail want to join a class-action lawsuit saying they were forced into a “gladiator-style” fight club — all for the amusement of guards.
The potential for additional plaintiffs comes a year after the original suit was filed against the city and alleges a systemic problem at the Medium Security Institution, which is nicknamed the Workhouse.
The plaintiffs’ attorney, Daniel Brown, said prisoners who were supposed to stay in solitary confinement were even prodded to fight with other offenders inside their cells.
“What was happening was the guards were actually taking inmates out of the cells, placing them in cells with other inmates and forcing them to fight each other,” Brown told St. Louis radio station KMOX.
The station said the city has filed a response denying the allegations.
A City Hall spokeswoman told the Daily News the city doesn’t comment on cases under litigation.
To bolster his case, Brown said, before-and-after surveillance video shows how inmates suffered injuries.
“At the end of the day, once jurors see that video, I think they’ll be with us,” he said.
In addition, two correction officers — Dexter Brinson and Elvis Howard — were arrested in connection with a particular beating in May 2012.
A judge must still decide whether to grant class status allowing the new inmates to join the initial eight plaintiffs, who are seeking punitive damages of more than $150 million, KMOX said.
A trial date is still pending.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri first documented allegations of misconduct at the Workhouse in a 2009 investigation.
Its report found inmate assaults, sexual harassment, and cover-ups and false reporting of incidents at the Medium Security Institution as well as the St. Louis City Justice Center.
With the most recent allegations, the city suspended Brinson and Howard after, prosecutors say, they allowed an inmate to attack another inmate in an orchestrated beating.
“Then the officers watched through the cell window,” Assistant Circuit Attorney Dan Proost told Fox affiliate KTVI after the May 2012 fight.
The city’s previous director of public safety, Eddie Roth, said at the time that there was no evidence that the fighting was widespread.
But the inmate who was attacked, Derrick Rodgers, later told reporters he first heard about the prevalance of “Workhouse gladiators” when he entered the medium-security facility in November. Guards would allegedly bribe inmates to fight one another and sometimes bet on the outcome.
“This is no different than the dog fight scandal, except now we are dealing with human lives,” Ryan Smith, another lawyer representing the inmates, told reporters.
Re: Inmates Say Guards Forced Them to Fight ‘gladiator-style’
How long before we see real pay-per-view prisoners vs prisoners UFC/deathmatches?
Should the economy tank I'd bet a few quid on this happening.