Two St. Louis County Corrections Officers Indicted

click to enlarge The St. Louis County corrections officers assaulted inmates, charges say. - DANNY WICENTOWSKI
The St. Louis County corrections officers assaulted inmates, charges say.

Two St. Louis County corrections officers have been indicted and accused of assaulting detainees.

Justin Mohler and Kurtis Bromeier, both 37, are facing charges in separate incidents from last summer.

On July 17, 2020, Mohler "knowingly caused physical injury to the victim by punching him in and around the face and neck," according to court documents.

Bromeier is accused of hitting a disabled inmate in the head on June 1, 2020. The indictment also says the guard "knowingly caused physical contact with [the inmate, identified only by initials], which a reasonable person, who does not have a disability, would consider offensive and provocative."

A grand jury handed up indictments of both corrections officers on Wednesday. Mohler is charged with third-degree assault, a felony, and Bromeier is charged with fourth-degree assault, a misdemeanor.

The case is being investigated by the St. Louis County prosecutor's Incident Review Unit, which investigates official misconduct.

“Corrections officers have extremely stressful and difficult jobs, and their work is essential and integral to criminal justice and the work prosecutors do,” St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell said in a news release. “But corrections officers are not above the law, and the grand jury agreed that the actions of these two men should be charged as criminal assault.”

Bromeier's attorney, Talmage Newton IV, says it was no coincidence his client was indicted the day before a meeting of the jail's advisory board. The citizen panel was established after a series of jail deaths and has pushed for reforms.

"This prosecution is a farce intended to loan some legitimacy to the Jail Advisory Board and the newly created Conviction and Incident Review Unit," Newton said in an email.

He charged that the prosecuting attorney's announcement of the indictment left out context.

"A fair reporting would include that this detainee (in custody on a charge of forcible rape), refused the reasonable directions of correctional officers who were attempting to assist him, and then spit in Capt. Bromeier's face — a clear assault on a law enforcement officer, and in the midst of a global pandemic no less," Newton wrote. "To the best of my knowledge this individual has never been charged for his assault on the corrections officers. All of Capt. Bromeier's actions in responding to this assault were legitimate and lawful."

Editor's note: This story has been updated with comments from Bromeier's attorney.
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