Three white St. Louis cops thought Luther Hall was just another black man they could abuse and get away with as they had been doing for so many years, even destroying his phone to keep him from recording.
But Hall turned out to be an undercover cop who was posing as a protester that night in September 2017.
And now four cops are facing prison sentences, not necessarily for the beating that left Hall with permanent injuries but for the coverup.
Turns out, Blue Privilege is not recognized by the FBI.
On Friday, St. Louis police officer Bailey Colletta pleaded guilty to making false statements to a grand jury after admitting on the witness stand that she lied to both the FBI and a federal grand jury to protect the three cops who beat Hall, including one she was dating. She will be sentenced in December.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
The original indictment accuses Hays, Dustin Boone and Christopher Myers of throwing the 22-year police veteran to the ground, kicking him and hitting him with a police baton. Their lawyers could not be immediately reached for comment.
Hall said he was beaten “like Rodney King,” according to court documents filed by prosecutors. He was fleeing from officers firing pepper spray, pepper balls and bean bag rounds at the time. Hall’s lip was injured, and he suffered multiple herniated discs and a jaw injury that made it hard to eat. He has not returned to work.
On the night that Hall was arrested, St. Louis police used a controversial crowd-containment technique called kettling to quell downtown protests. More than 100 people were swept up and arrested. A flurry of lawsuits later were filed alleging police brutality that night.
On the charge of making false statements before a grand jury, Colletta faces at least 30-37 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines. Prosecutors say she should face 46-57 months because they dispute her lawyers’ claims that she was a “minor participant” in the crime. Her sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 13.
The incident took place during a series of protests following the September 15, 2017 acquittal of St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley, who prosecutors say planted a gun on an unarmed suspect after shooting him to death at close range.
During the day of the protests, the three male cops, Dustin Boone, Christopher Myers and Randy Hays, the latter who was dating Colletta, exchanged text messages expressing their exciting about working that night because they would be able to beat people without repercussions, according to the indictment, which you can read here.
Myers wrote “let’s whoop some ass.” Hays wrote “going rogue does feel good.” And Boone wrote “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!!!!”
All three have pleaded not guilty and will go to trial in December.