St. Louis, MO — 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. Now, that officer, detective Luther Hall, filed a lawsuit this week in U.S. District Court 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.”
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.
So far, Colletta has 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, while the other three officers have pleaded not guilty and are set to head to trial later this year.
The officers are 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.
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.
As TFTP reported at the time, during the protests, angry citizens took to the streets en masse. They were met by hundreds of police officers in riot gear, who were armed with military grade weaponry and technology.
During the protests, story after story surfaced of officers using unnecessary force, beating protesters and making false arrests. This was in spite of the fact that the protests ran relatively smoothly and were far less violent than the ones in 2014 in Ferguson after the killing of Mike Brown.
Despite the peaceful nature of the protests, police officers were seen on video carrying out extremely disturbing acts. One such act involved trampling an elderly woman. Another act involved police chanting “whose streets? Our streets!” as they surrounded protesters—otherwise known as ‘kettling’— and began a brutal assault with pepper spray and police batons.
Hall was also one of these stories, however, his story was suppressed because the officers who beat him covered up what happened and lied to investigators.
Hall was not violent during the protests and merely carrying a Nikon camera attempting to photograph the protests when police approached.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
At an intersection, police SUVs pulled up and a female officer ordered Hall to get to the ground.
As he was getting to his knees, Hall was picked up twice and slammed to the ground, face first, Boehlje wrote. His nose and lip were already bleeding when he was repeatedly kicked and hit with closed fists and sticks, Boehlje wrote.
Hall’s hands were in front of him on the ground, and although officers were telling him to put his hands behind his back, they were also standing on his arms, Boehlje wrote.
“Hall described it as a ‘free for all,’” the affidavit says.
Hall’s cellphone screen had been shattered from what Hall thought was a baton. After he was handcuffed, he watched as an officer took out his Nikon battery and threw the camera to the ground, breaking it, Boehlje wrote.
The affidavit suggests there may be video of at least part of the incident, as Hall’s cellphone was “actively recording” as he surrendered.
During the arrest, Hall did not want to blow his cover so he did not inform police he was undercover until he got back to headquarters. He told someone at headquarters that that officers “beat the (expletive) out of him like Rodney King.”
When investigators seized the cellphones of the officers, they found texts of them discussing the beating, essentially admitting to all of it.
Before the officers were dispatched to the protest, they stated their “disdain” for the protesters and expressed “excitement about using unjustified force against them and going undetected while doing so.”
After the beating, Hays told Boone in regards to one of the officers smashing Hall’s camera and beating him that “the ass whooping can be explained. The camera thing can’t and we weren’t a part of that.”
Boone then replies to Hays saying that Hall “could’ve announced himself any time. And he wasn’t complying. The camera thing is just ignorant, nothing we all haven’t done and if it was a protester it wouldn’t be a problem at all.”
Reread that above text and let that sink in. These officers are describing a situation in which they can walk up to an innocent person, beat the hell out of them, smash their camera, and then get away with it. But, because their victim was a cop and not a protester, they won’t “get away with it.”
Below is a screen shot of just some of the texts exchanged by these cops who were quite literally begging to “f**k people up.”
For now, these violent criminals stand charged.
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.
All of the officers are currently on administrative leave without pay and are awaiting their future court date which has not yet been released. Hopefully their case 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.