A jury in Saint Louis acquitted five police officers on several counts relating to their violent assault on a man during protests in September 2017, a man who later turned out to be an undercover cop sent out to gather details on property destruction.
On the night of September 15, according to the indictment, officers Dustin Boone, Randy Hays, Christopher Myers, Bailey Colletta, and Steven Korte of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police singled out Luther Hall. According to Reason.com, “[t]he cops allegedly shoved him to the ground, struck him with a baton, kicked him in the face, and assaulted him so brutally that he required multiple surgeries.” During the trial, one of the officers admitted that Hall provided no resistance.
“I couldn’t believe it was happening,” Hall told a jury about the beating. After serving as an officer for 22 years, Hall had lost 20 pounds due to being unable to eat solid food for weeks afterward. He also required surgeries to fuse vertebrae in his neck and to repair a hole in his lip.
Texts from former Officer Boone, which formed part of the indictment against him for deprivation of Hall’s rights, showed him expressing glee at assaulting protesters: “It’s gonna get IGNORANT tonight!!” “But it’s gonna be a lot of fun beating the hell out of these shitheads once the sun goes down and nobody can tell us apart!!!!” “it’s still a blast beating who deserve it.” “This shit is crazy ... but it’s fucking AWESOME too!” “Except for cops getting hurt. People on the streets got FUCKED up!” The last text was sent after the assault on Hall, as Boone was unaware his victim was a fellow officer.
Korte had been charged separately from the others, as he was the only officer still remaining with the department. Hays pleaded guilty to one count of deprivation of rights, but Korte and Myers were acquitted. The jury was deadlocked on this charge for Boone. The jury also failed to reach a verdict for lying to investigators and destroying evidence (Hall’s phone).
Hall settled with the city for $5 million, which will help cover his medical expenses and provide for his family. However, the court system failed to provide justice, even when a police officer is the victim.
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