ST. LOUIS — A faulty locking system allowed inmates at a downtown city jail to escape their cells Saturday before freeing other “very violent people” who then caused widespread damage on a floor of the jail, including smashing exterior windows and sending flaming debris to the sidewalk below, city officials said.
About 115 inmates took control of the fourth floor of the City Justice Center, where they set fires, clogged toilets, flooded parts of the floor and caused other damage, officials said.
Dozens of people gathered to watch from across Tucker Boulevard as a group of inmates threw chairs and other items out of the building and smashed nearby windows while flames could be seen growing behind them. The scene was livestreamed by onlookers and carried on Facebook Live and other social platforms.
Inmates could be heard yelling disparaging remarks about police in what was at least the third disturbance at the downtown jail in recent weeks.