St. Louis City and County Settle Jail Death for Undisclosed Sum

The family of DeJuan Brison, 26, alleged he should have been on suicide watch

Dec 12, 2022 at 5:02 am
The fourth-floor windows of the City Justice Center were boarded up after Saturday's revolt. - DOYLE MURPHY
The fourth-floor windows of the City Justice Center were boarded up after Saturday's revolt.

This project was completed with the support of a grant from Columbia University's Ira A. Lipman Center for Journalism and Civil and Human Rights in conjunction with Arnold Ventures.

Eight years after a 26-year-old hung himself at the Jennings jail, St. Louis city and County, as well as the city of Jennings, have agreed to pay DeJuan Brison's children an undisclosed sum in settlement money for his death.

On October 4, 2014, Brison used a bed sheet to hang himself at the Jennings jail, only three and a half hours after being transferred there from the St. Louis City Justice Center, where he had been on suicide watch.

The lawsuit against the cities of St. Louis and Jennings as well as individual corrections officers, accused the City Justice Center of not communicating to the Jennings custodial staff that Brison needed to be on suicide watch.

According to court documents, the settlement money will be paid out by St. Louis city, St. Louis County and Jennings. However, neither the settlement's total amount nor what percentage each entity will pay has not been disclosed. The court filings pertaining to the settlement are heavily redacted.

Three days prior to his death, Brison was taken into custody for domestic violence, though he was never charged. He was transferred to Jennings on a warrant because three years prior he'd stolen five deodorant sticks from a Family Dollar.

In 2015, attorney Jerryl Christmas told the Post-Dispatch that he didn't think Brison should have even been locked up in the first place. In addition to not actually being charged in the city, Brison had already posted bond relating to the case in Jennings.

The lawsuit took seven years to work its way to a settlement, during which time Brison's mother, Christina Brooks, passed away. Christmas tells the RFT that Brooks was the "main advocate" for her son following his death.

"Sometimes you have a client who will come in who's so determined and passionate to have justice for her son, and it inspires you," Christmas says.

"I wish today that she were alive to finally see it come to a resolution. I just hope that in some way she knows it's finally over," he adds.

Brison is survived by four children, and the settlement references money going to trusts that have been set up for them.

"It will make a difference in their lives," Christmas says.

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