Client Stories

Diata Crockett has been homeless on and off for the last 17 years. In April 2018, while walking to a church shelter with his young twin nephews, he was stopped, handcuffed, and jailed with a $3,000 bond for a theft that the arresting officer knew Diata didn’t commit.

Diata was not the man seen in the surveillance video, nonetheless, he was caged in the horrific Workhouse jail. “As long as they think you don’t have representation, they do what they want with you.”

Word got to ArchCity Defenders and we were able to get the false charges dropped.

In October, we helped Diata move into an apartment and connected him to rental assistance until he found steady employment. Standing in his apartment for the first time, Diata turned to his ArchCity attorney and said, “I gotta lock my door. My door. I haven’t said that in a long time.”

ArchCity Defenders advocates for St. Louisans targeted by an unjust system that criminalizes poverty and race. Please make a gift to support our work to uphold the dignity of our clients and create a more just St. Louis.

On September 17, 2017, following the announcement of the Stockley verdict, Demetrius Thomas, a freelance photographer and videographer, went to record the protest in Downtown St. Louis.

“I was there to film it, to document it, because it is a part of history, and as a camera guy, it is my personal duty to capture that for the world to see.”

While there, Demetrius was trapped in a police ‘kettle’, surrounded, and unable to leave the immediate area. Police officers confiscated and destroyed his camera equipment. They maced Demetrius, sprayed him with pepper spray, grabbed him by his arms and legs, and beat him repeatedly in his ribs with a baton. Police officers arrested Demetrius and over one hundred people who suffered similar abuse.

This brutal, illegal treatment by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department officers has had lasting, painful consequences in Demetrius’s life.

“My cameras are my everything, and the night of the kettle my equipment was damaged and taken from me. As a result, I lost several job opportunities, couldn’t keep up with house payments, and I had to ask my mother if I could stay with her while I get on my feet. I’ll never forget it.”

On the one-year anniversary of the protest, ArchCity Defenders and Khazaeli Wyrsch, LLC filed twelve lawsuits on behalf of fourteen people, including Demetrius, who were unlawfully and brutally attacked by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

ArchCity Defenders advocates for St. Louisans to hold the city and county governments accountable for abusing the civil rights of the poor, people of color, and those who stand with them. Please make a gift to support our work to uphold the rights of all and help us create a more just St. Louis!

In May 2017, Jasmine Borden was arrested and charged for leaving the scene of an accident involving no other people or vehicles and sent to jail with a $5,000 bond. She endured two months caged in the unspeakably hellish conditions of the Workhouse jail, and her three young daughters were uprooted and sent across the country to live with her sister in Las Vegas. Jasmine was evicted, her home ransacked, and all of her belongings carted off. Jasmine, who had steady employment when she was arrested, quickly lost her job, her children, and her home.

Through collaboration with ArchCity Defenders (ACD), organizing partner Action St. Louis established a bail fund and bailed Jasmine and others out of the Workhouse during a record heat wave in July 2017.

Three weeks later, the Circuit Attorney’s Office dismissed Jasmine’s charges.

In October 2017, as Jasmine was getting her life back on track, she learned that a judge had issued a warrant for her arrest on a re-filed ‘leaving the scene’ charge. Fearing she would lose her job, Jasmine called ACD, who intervened to have the bond amount reduced and got Jasmine released from jail.

ACD helped Jasmine fly to Las Vegas to bring her girls home; helped her find an apartment; and facilitated financial assistance to pay her rent and utilities, as she worked to reestablish her life. Jasmine survived the devastating trauma of being separated from her children and caged for months in a horrific jail. A year later, Jasmine was working a steady job, caring for her three little girls, and living in stable housing.

For thousands of vulnerable St. Louisans like Jasmine, ArchCity Defenders is redefining advocacy.