ST. LOUIS — A justice center is suing several St. Louis government offices over allegations that the agencies deliberately intended to withhold information on the sudden death of a detainee.

MacArthur Justice Center, St. Louis and Amy E. Breihan filed a complaint on July 7 in the St. Louis 22nd Judicial Circuit Court against the City of St. Louis, Department of Public Safety, Division of Corrections, Office of the Medical Examiner and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, alleging that the defendants violated the Missouri Sunshine Law, a state open records law.

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs allege that detainee Justin Ratcliff died in Dec. 2016 while in the custody of the defendants. The plaintiffs claim that the agencies deliberately skirted their obligation to inform the public of the incident and produce records related to Ratcliff's detention and sudden death. Despite repeated efforts to obtain public records relating to the death of Ratcliff, the agencies allegedly have not provided a death certificate. 

The plaintiffs hold the defendants responsible for allegedly continuing to withhold the requested records from the public, failing to produce the requested records and depriving the public of information to which it is entitled.

The plaintiffs request a trial by jury and seek declare the records requested are open records, impose a civil penalty, award attorneys' fees, costs of litigation and any further relief that this court deems just. They are represented by Mae C. Quinn of MacArthur Justice Center, St. Louis in St. Louis.

St. Louis 22nd Judicial Circuit Court case number 1722-CC1073

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