ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–A federal, class action lawsuit filed today alleges city jailers have been forcing inmates to wage “gladiator-style” fights against each other for the amusement of guards.
The suit filed on behalf of seven current and former St. Louis inmates claims they were coerced into fighting with threats of beatings, then led into another inmate’s cell where they would duke it out with guards watching. Attorneys for the inmates claim from two-to-fifteen guards would watch the fights, sometimes betting on the outcome.
Afterwards inmates complained of injuries including a broken jaw and bloody urine, but were offered no medical treatment, attorneys claim.
Named in the suit are St. Louis Mayor Slay, Public Safety Director Eddie Roth and Medium Security Institution Commissioner Dale Glass.
Former St. Louis Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr. is among the three attorneys rerpesenting the inmates, who were allegedly known as the “Workhouse Gladiators.” The suit seeks protective custody for six inmates still behind bars, and punitive damages from the city.
The alleged fight games came to light after the recent arrest of Corrections Officers Dexter Brinson and Elvis Howard, according to lawyers representing the inmates.
Mayor Slay’s Director of Operations Sam Dotson responded that the fights first came to their attention in June, and the city has cooperated fully with investigators.
Dotson says illegal behavior “will not be tolerated,” and the two guards are on forced leave, going through the termination process. Dotson says there’s no evidence the practice was widespread or went beyond the two guards.