Captain Accused of Abusing Mentally Ill Prisoners Cleared in Internal Investigation
The captain (whose name has been withheld since he has not been charged with a crime) has since been demoted to a lieutenant, but the Clayton Police Department and the Department of Corrections Internal Affairs have both concluded their investigation, finding no evidence of wrongdoing.
Clayton Police Corporal Jenny Schwartz said the only report in evidence about the ex-captain was filed on June 2, which said that a prisoner assaulted the ex-captain by spitting on him. She said the investigation concluded with an application for a warrant for the prisoner’s arrest being sent to prosecuting attorney Wesley Bell’s office.
St. Louis County NAACP Chapter President John Bowman said the ex-captain should be held accountable and is critical of the county for not doing enough. He said the ex-captain should be fired for his actions. Comparing the administration to a slave ship from 1619, Bowman said, “We’re dealing with two pandemics, COVID-19 and COVID-1619, we find ourselves totally disrespected and treated with a lack of dignity simply because you are vulnerable and cannot speak up to defend yourself.”
Toshonda Troupe — mother of Lamar Catchings who died in the jail in 2019 of leukemia — said the jail’s culture needed to change before the abuse could stop. “I’ve been pushing for them to change the culture in this jail,” she said. “They have not yet done so completely. How can you have a captain that’s abusing inmates and he’s supposedly a captain? You lead by example. So if that’s what he’s showing his people up under him, then that’s what’s going to happen.”
She said any prisoner who filed grievances was placed in the “hole” to discourage them. She said that several other prisoners’ family members have contacted her on similar issues of abuse
County Executive Sam Page said he found the accusations disturbing but said the investigation showed no wrongdoing. He said the jail had “experienced years of mismanagement, lax training, and poor performance.” But he said that with “the help of many, including our Justice Services Advisory Board, we have made significant progress in improving the treatment of those in our custody.”