Man allegedly released over COVID-19 diagnosis back in jail
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Police officials are conducting an internal investigation to determine why a man suspected of domestic assault was released from a St. Louis jail without being charged, authorities said Monday.
A St. Louis police union official alleged that 36-year-old Mac Payne was released from the downtown jail Jan. 4 because he tested positive for COVID-19.
Payne was was arrested again on Friday.
After a hearing on Monday, a judge allowed him to post 10% of a $20,000 bond and be released. Payne pleaded not guilty to second- and third-degree domestic assault, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Jane Dueker, an attorney for the St. Louis Police Officers Association, said last week that Payne was released before he was charged despite being considered dangerous enough that prosecutors wanted him held without bail.
Interim Public Safety Director Dan Isom said Monday that his release was a “poor decision” and an “aberration.” He said an internal affairs investigation into the decision to release him has been launched.
Isom also said people suspected of violent crimes continue to be jailed even after a positive COVID-19 test and that the city has not changed that policy, as Dueker alleged last week.
Payne’s attorney, Melinda Gorman, confirmed at the court hearing that he was diagnosed with COVID-19.
Payne will be under house arrest, have constant GPS monitoring, will have to maintain his job and stay away from his accuser’s home, Gorman said.
Assistant Circuit Attorney Jonathan Phipps argued against bail, citing a concern about a potential escalation of violence between Payne and the woman, who also spoke at Monday’s hearing.
Gorman said Payne has no felony record and would live with this brother while awaiting trial. He said evidence will show the woman did not receive medical treatment or go to a hospital after the confrontation.