NewsPolice AccountabilityThe SouthSider

Lawsuit alleges city corrections department is violating Missouri Sunshine Law

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A civil rights group sued the St. Louis City Department of Corrections Wednesday for allegedly violating the Missouri Sunshine Law.

The ACLU of Missouri said in a news release that it filed suit on behalf of ArchCity Defenders over requested records about incidents of detainees’ being abused by corrections officers at the St. Louis City Justice Center.

The lawsuit stems from a written sunshine law request that ArchCity Defenders attorney Maureen Hanlon submitted in April seeking access to use of force reports completed by correctional staff for the prior six months relating to the use of a chemical agent at the City Justice Center. It contends the city has failed to provide a single record.

A spokesman for the city did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.

In May, several civil rights groups filed suit on behalf of three detainees alleging a pattern of detainees being maced without warning and then denying medical care and water afterward. The facility has been the site of multiple uprisings.

The ACLU of Missouri said understanding the use of chemical agents is crucial considering the department’s recent purchases total $17,379, which is more than the previous six years combined.

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