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Four Missouri prison guards charged with murder of Othel Moore Jr.

Four Missouri prison guards charged with murder of Othel Moore Jr.

On June 28, four Missouri prison guards were charged with murder and another with aiding and abetting involuntary manslaughter, in connection with the December 2023 death of a Black inmate.

Othel Moore Jr. was pepper sprayed, his face was covered with a mask, and he was left in a position where he could suffocate while restrained.

Moore, a black man, died in the custody of a group of guards forming the Department of Corrections Emergency Response Team after members of the group pepper-sprayed him twice and placed him in a spit hood, leg restraints and a restraint chair. Moore was taken to a housing unit, where he was left for 30 minutes, and according to Cole County District Attorney Locke Thompson, several people heard Moore say he couldn’t breathe before he died in a hospital wing of the facility.

According to Andrew Stouth, an attorney for Moore’s family, racial abuse is commonplace in both the Missouri Department of Corrections and the Jefferson City Corrections Center. Stouth told NBC News“There is a system, pattern and practice of racist and unconstitutional abuse within the Missouri Department of Corrections, and specifically within the Jefferson City Corrections Center. It is George Floyd 3.0 in a prison.”

Justin Leggins, Jacob Case, Aaron Brown and Gregory Garner are all charged with second-degree murder and complicity to second-degree assault. Another guard, Bryanne Bradshaw, is charged with complicity to involuntary manslaughter.

According to the complaint, Leggins and Case pepper-sprayed Moore and Brown placed the mask over Moore’s face. Garner and Bradshaw then left him in a position that caused asphyxiation. The four officers charged with murder face 10 to 30 years in prison, Thompson said.

A copy of the lawsuit filed by Moore’s mother and sister describes the Department of Corrections Emergency Response Team as “a group that uses coercive measures to abuse, intimidate and threaten inmates,” and attorneys for Moore described what happened to him as the result of “a barbaric pattern and practice.”

“This attack on Ohel Moore,

Jr. was not an isolated incident, but rather the manifestation of a barbaric pattern and practice promoted by the highest-ranking members of the Missouri Department of Corrections, Moore’s attorneys wrote in the complaint.

According to the Missouri Department of Corrections, they identified ten people who they say are “no longer employed by the department or its contractors.”

In addition, the department said it would implement body cameras and other reforms in the future. “The department has begun implementing body cameras in restricted housing units in maximum security facilities, beginning with the Jefferson City Correctional Center, to enhance both safety and accountability.”

His family, meanwhile, is mourning the loss of their son and brother. His sister, Oriel Moore, said NBC News The fact that they can no longer see their brother, who is already a youth, outside of prison increases their grief.

“He’s not going to be able to live his life. He doesn’t even know what it is to be a grown man because he’s been there since he was a child,” Oriel said. “He had plans. He wanted to be a productive member of society. He matters. His life matters.”

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