‘I Guess I Am’: St. Louis Sheriff Responds As Inmates Trash City Jail And Reporters Ask ‘Who’s In Charge?’


Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
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The latest in a string of security breaches at the St. Louis City Justice Center left many on the street below wondering who exactly was in charge.

Inmates escaped their cells Sunday evening and broke windows on the third floor of the CJC, where windows on the fourth floor are still boarded up due to the last similar incident. (RELATED: More Than 100 St Louis Inmates Riot, Take Over Section Of Jail)

Onlookers on the ground could see inmates in the windows as they shouted and threw things to the ground.

The situation was further complicated by the fact that former Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards just retired, prompting St. Louis Sheriff Vernon Betts to answer, “I guess I am,” when reporters began to ask who was in charge. Betts was able to inform reporters that no officers had been injured.

For a time, it appeared that the guards gained control of the situation. Officials in riot gear could be seen in the windows as the inmates seemed to be under control.

A similar breach in February resulted in guards being beaten when inmates escaped their cells, smashed a number of windows and setg fires.

According to the inmates, the reason for the riots is the fact that numerous court dates have been delayed — and according to the city, those delays are a result of the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

A short time later, more inmates escaped their cells and shattered windows on the opposite end of the third floor, once again throwing things from the windows down into the street below.

Police were able to assist corrections officers in gaining control of the situation shortly after 10 pm local time.