‘They beat the **** out of me’ – Undercover cop brutalized by fellow officers. ‘It was a free for all’
Black St Louis cop sued four fellow officers he claims viciously beat him while he was working undercover during a 2017 protest against police brutality in the city
Det. Luther Hall filed a lawsuit in US District Court this week against Officers Dustin Boone, Randy Hays, Christopher Myers and Bailey Colletta, all of whom are white
The alleged attack occurred when Hall was undercover at a September 2017 protest over the acquittal of a white officer who shot dead a black suspect
Hall said the officers didn’t recognize him when they began beating him
He suffered severe injuries and has not returned to the job since
Hall’s allegations mirror those made by federal prosecutors in a November indictment against the officers
Boone, 36, Hays, 32, and Myers, 28, all face charges of depriving Hall of his constitutional rights and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Myers also faces a charge of destruction of evidence relating to the cellphone
Colletta, 26, faces a charge of attempting to obstruct grand jury proceedings
Two other lawsuits were filed this week over police action during the protest
Top L-R: officers Christopher Myers, Dustin Boone, Bottom: Bailey Colletta and Randy Hays are on trial accused of brutalizing undercover St. Louis police officer Luther Hall who has said the quartet gave him a brutal beat down during protests in 2017. Hall who later described the attack as a “free for all” reported at police HQ that he was beaten “like Rodney King.”
A St Louis cop claims fellow officers brutally beat him while he was working undercover during a protest in 2017 and the police department tried to cover it up.
Detective Luther Hall filed a lawsuit in US District Court this week against Officers Dustin Boone, Randy Hays, Christopher Myers and Bailey Colletta.
The alleged attack occurred when Hall, who is black, and his partner were undercover ‘documenting protest activity and property destruction’ during a demonstration that followed the acquittal of former officer Jason Stockley, who is white, in the fatal shooting of a black suspect.
Hall said the officers didn’t recognize him when they launched the ‘free for all’ beating, slamming him into the ground twice, punching, kicking and striking him with batons.
His allegations mirror those made by federal prosecutors in a November indictment against the officers.
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Earlier this month Colletta admitted to covering up the attack when she pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and a federal grand jury investigating the incident and the detention of other protesters at the demonstration on September 15, 2017.
Det Luther Hall filed a lawsuit in US District Court this week against Officers Dustin Boone, Randy Hays, Christopher Myers and Bailey Colletta, claiming his fellow officers brutally beat him while he was working undercover during the 2017 St Louis protests
St Louis police Detective Luther Hall filed a lawsuit this week against four fellow officers he claims beat him while he was undercover at a protest in September 2017. The alleged attack occurred when Hall, who is black, was undercover ‘documenting protest activity and property destruction’ during a demonstration that followed the acquittal of former officer Jason Stockley, who is white, in the fatal shooting of a black suspect. The photo above shows officers aggressively arresting another man during those protests Hall, who was carrying a Nikon camera and a cellphone, was separated from his partner while fleeing officers who began firing pepper-spray pellets and bean bag rounds into the crowd of protesters without warning, according to an FBI affidavit.
He said he was getting on his knees when officers picked him up twice and slammed him to the ground face first.
He was allegedly told to put his hands behind his back but couldn’t because officers were standing on his arms.
Hall’s cellphone screen was shattered in the melee, and he watched as an officer took out the battery out of his camera and threw the camera to the ground, breaking it.
Not wanting to reveal his identity and blow his cover, Hall made eye contact with someone he knew, and that person got two SWAT officers to take him away.
The undercover officer received medical treatment in an armored vehicle before being taken to a hospital.
Police never documented the arrest in an apparent attempt to cover up the incident, according to the suit.
St Louis cops arrest protesters on Sept 17 using the controversial ‘Kettling’ technique of herding the targets into and area and blocking off all exits
After learning that the person they attacked was an undercover officer, the three male officers lied about the arrest, claiming the man resisted arrest and was not compliant, the indictment says. They also tried to contact the undercover officer to dissuade him from pursuing disciplinary or legal action, the indictment says.
The undercover officer is identified only by the initials “L.H.” The age, gender and initials match only one officer: Luther Hall. Hall was working undercover aiding other officers in identifying criminal activity, sources said.
At the time of the assault, police sources said Hall suffered a bloody lip during his arrest.
But sources close to Hall said Thursday that injuries from the assault were much more extensive. He has not been able to return to work.
Hall was kicked in the face, which inflamed his jaw muscles to the point where he could not eat. He went from about 185 pounds to 165.
The cut above his lip was a 2-centimeter hole that went through his face.
He also sustained an injury to his tailbone, which still causes him pain, the sources said.
And in October, he underwent surgery to repair two herniated discs in his neck and one in his back. He is still wearing a collar to keep his neck immobile.
Myers destroyed Hall’s cellphone with the intent to obstruct any subsequent investigation, sources said, and Boone, Hays and Myers obstructed justice by conspiring to prevent information about the beating from reaching federal investigators.
olletta and Hays were in a romantic relationship at the time of the incident and investigation, the indictment says.
St Louis cops mass up to handle protesters on Sept 17
Officers Bailey Colletta and Randy Hayes make their court appearance in St Louis on Nov 30 2018. The pair allegedly were in a romantic relationship at the time
Colletta initially denied knowing Hall and denied that she had ever come into contact with him on the night of his arrest, the indictment says, and lied when saying he was “brought to the ground very gently.”
The indictment says the officers exchanged a series of messages during the days of protest duty.
In one Sept. 15, 2017, message, Myers writes “let’s whoop some ass.”
On Oct. 5, 2017, Hays writes “going rogue does feel good.”
Boone later replies that “it’s gonna be a lot of fun beating the hell out of these (expletive) once the sun goes down and nobody can tell us apart!!!!” On Sept. 17, he wrote that it was “a blast beating people that deserve it.”
Boone, 36, Hays, 32, and Myers, 28, all face charges of depriving Hall of his constitutional rights and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Myers also faces a charge of destruction of evidence relating to the cellphone, and Colletta, 26, faces a charge of attempting to obstruct grand jury proceedings.
U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen declined to comment, saying he would not make any statements outside of a news release announcing the charges.
St. Louis Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards, who called the officers “outliers” in a statement, said the four officers have been suspended without pay from the police force.
In his own statement, Police Chief John Hayden said police sought the FBI’s help after learning about the allegations involving Hall.
“I am deeply disappointed in the alleged actions of these individual officers; however, it is in no way reflective of the hard work and dedication exhibited by the men and women of our Department who serve the community on a daily basis with integrity and honor,” his statement says.
Hayden said Hays had eight years with the department, Myers had three, Boone had two and Colletta, 18 months.
The officers could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted, although recommended federal sentencing guidelines will likely call for much less prison time.
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and O’Toole were among the officials who asked the U.S. attorney’s office to investigate less than two weeks later.
The mass arrest prompted criticism by a federal judge and a series of federal lawsuits alleging that police violated arrestees’ Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to be free from unlawful seizure and their First Amendment rights to assemble in public and express their views free from retaliation.
After the indictments were announced, Tony Rothert, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, wrote that “there has still been no real accountability for the individual officers who engaged in the same behavior toward protesters. St. Louis officials must address this rampant lawlessness by its police.”
“We expect professionalism from every City employee,” Krewson said in a statement. “No exceptions. The charges brought against these officers today do not reflect the standards we hold ourselves to as public servants.”
Police have also said multiple officers have been injured by rocks and bottles thrown by protesters on various occasions.
“In a few instances, some officers have fallen short of the professionalism required to work in our Police Department,” Edwards said in a statement. “I take accountability and transparency very seriously. When a public safety employee acts outside the scope of their authority, it is imperative that they be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
Hall was not a member of the Ethical Society of Police, a police association which represents primarily black officers.
But the organization’s community liaison, the Rev. Darryl Gray, said the group has been calling on the department to investigate the assault ever since it happened.
“Anytime we have police officers who are labeled as rogue officers, other officers need to know there is accountability and there are consequences to police officers who think they’re above the law or try to hide their own viciousness and hatred behind the badge and under the cover of darkness,” Gray said.
The rioting started after former St Louis police officer Jason Stockley, [left], was acquitted in the shooting death of drug suspect Anthony Lamar Smith, seen [right with his daughter]
Hall reportedly told someone at headquarters that the officers ‘beat the [expletive] out of him like Rodney King’, referring to the black construction worker who was beaten by four Los Angeles police officers in 1991, sparking massive riots.
The lawsuit alleges that it took three layers of stitches to close the hole in Hall’s lip, and that he suffered multiple herniated discs. A jaw injury made it hard for him to eat and he subsequently lost about 15 pounds.
Hall hasn’t returned to work since the attack.
The lawsuit is seeking damages for claims including excessive force, assault, false arrest and civil conspiracy.
All four officers, the city of St Louis and Mayor Lyda Krewson are named as defendants, among others.
Officer Colletta faces at least 30 months in prison at his sentencing hearing this December, it added.
The other three officers pleaded not guilty and will go to trial later this year.