St. Louis, MO — Earlier this year, a trial took place for several cops accused of savagely beating one of their own after mistaking him for protester. The results of the trial were less than desirable, however, video has been released this week showing the attack unfold and will be used in a second trial.
The officers in question—Dustin Boone, Steven Korte, Christopher Myers, and Randy Hays—were part of what was called a “civil disobedience team” to crack down on violence at protests. Their tactics, however, involved beating up innocent protesters for filming them and this was found out after they beat a fellow cop, Luther Hall, who was undercover as a protester.
Hays pleaded guilty for his part in the beating earlier this year, while Korte was acquitted. Boone is going to stand trial again next month after his trial in March ended in a mistrial.
In December 2011, St. Louis Police Officer Jason Stockley violated department policy when he grabbed his personal AK-47, premeditated, and then murdered Anthony Lamar Smith. The planning of the murder and the actual murder were captured on the officer's dashcam. In spite of the overwhelming amount of evidence against him, a St. Louis judge in 2017 found Stockley not guilty of first-degree murder in the 2011 shooting death of Smith. Months of protests ensued immediately.
During the protests, undercover police officers were placed throughout the crowd in order to catch people who were attempting to instigate violence or destroy property. Police violence was so over the top, that four officers allegedly grabbed one of their own, a 22-year veteran of the department who was working undercover. Earlier this year, Hall received a $5 million settlement from his lawsuit alleging that his colleagues slammed him down twice and then beat him with batons.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Hall's suit says one officer who participated in the beating, Joseph Marcantano, has since been promoted to sergeant, showing that “misconduct is not only protected but rewarded by the City and Department.”
Marcantano's privilege has apparently extended into the criminal realm, as he is not on trial with his fellow officers and he is still employed with the department.
After the initial incident, officers Dustin Boone, Bailey Colletta, Randy Hays and Christopher Myers all faced federal charges of civil rights violation, obstruction of justice and lying to federal investigators.
In 2019, Colletta pleaded guilty to one federal charge and has admitted to lying to the FBI and a grand jury about the nature of Hall’s arrest. In her plea, Colletta said other officers tackled Hall as he was following her orders and dropped to his knees.
Myers was acquitted in Hall's beating but faces a re-trial on charges claiming he destroyed Hall's cell phone to cover up the assault. Myers and Boone will be re-tried together later this year.
The officers were accused of attacking their fellow officer without reason, throwing him to the ground, savagely beating him—causing serious bodily injury—and then destroying his camera.
New video was reported by KMOV4 this week showing the moments leading up to the savage beat down of this undercover cop. As KMOV reports:
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The video also reportedly shows the police macing protestors from unmarked cars without dispersal warnings. In the video, Hall walks and eventually runs alongside protestors until his video only partially captures what happens next.
An injury report was written at the time but has never been publicly seen before. It says "as officers were making arrests, officer Hall was knocked to the ground striking the concrete." Prosecutors have alleged the incident was much different than that. Officers, believing Hall was just a Black protestor, assaulted him and left him severely injured.
Hall described his beating by these for cops as a "free for all" and told other cops at the department that he was beaten "like Rodney King," according to court documents released earlier this year.
KMOV4 also obtained text messages from Boone's personal cellphone which paint a disturbing picture of a racist cop who apparently had an affinity toward hurting black people.
A judge will now allow the text messages to be used during Boone's upcoming trial.
"Boone's animosity towards African Americans, and that Boone's actions were ... willful and not the result of mistake or accident," prosecutors said.
In July 2017, for example, Boone texted several other officers using racial slurs writing "there r n-words running wild all across the city and even if/when we catch them...They don't get in any trouble because there are plate lips running the cao!" ... Using a slur in reference to the Circuit Attorney's Office. The city's Circuit Attorney is a Black woman.
"I think that's hurtful and professionally its unacceptable," Chief John Hayden said.
According to the texts, Boone wasn't only a racist, he was also helping fellow cops get high on the job by getting them drugs.
"Obviously a major concern," Hayden said. "We cannot have officers under the influence of anything while they are doing their job. That would be intolerable and that would also be a part of the internal investigation."
For now, at least some of these violent criminals are being held accountable.
Due to the egregious nature of these officers' actions and their subsequent indictments, the St. Louis Circuit Attorney has dropped 91 cases with which these officers were involved.
Hopefully their upcoming trial plays out different than the one of Jason Stockley and justice is actually served. Because their victim was a police officer, there is a higher chance that will happen.