Four Missouri Prison Workers Terminated Following Inmate Death Investigation

Four Missouri prison workers were fired following an investigation into the death of an inmate, whose family is demanding answers.

Othel Moore died on December 8 at the Jefferson City Correctional Center as cells in a housing unit were searched for guns, narcotics, and other contraband, Missouri Department of Corrections spokesman Karen Pojmann said in an email Friday.

Four Missouri Prison Workers Terminated Following Inmate Death Investigation

She stated that the cause of death had not been determined. She declined to provide any information on the terminations, stating that the Cole County Sheriff’s Department is investigating. The Associated Press left messages with the county sheriff, prosecutor, and medical examiner requesting comment.

According to the family’s attorney, Andrew M. Stroth, Moore, a 38-year-old Black male, was pepper-sprayed, tied to a restraining device, and had blood running out of his ears and nose. He blamed members of the prison’s Corrections Emergency Response Team, which deals with disturbances and emergencies. Stroth claimed that numerous inmates heard Moore cry that he couldn’t breathe and that he was allowed to die.

Four Missouri Prison Workers Terminated Following Inmate Death Investigation

Although no lawsuit has been filed, Stroth claimed that Moore’s death was part of a larger problem.

“The Missouri prison system has a pattern and practice of abusing Black inmates,” he told the audience. “So this is a major civil rights issue. And Othel Moore is only one of the more extreme examples.”

He said the family is requesting that police produce footage, investigative findings, and the names of the terminated officers.

Pojmann declined to divulge the identities of the workers who were fired on February 22, citing the fact that individually identifiable personnel records are not open to public inspection. She stated that video and reports were submitted to the sheriff’s department.

Moore grew up in St. Louis and was serving a 30-year term for second-degree domestic abuse, first-degree robbery, armed criminal action, possession of a controlled substance, and violence against a Corrections Department inmate or employee, according to Pojmann.

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