St. Louis, MO – A veteran St. Louis police detective who was allegedly assaulted by officers while working undercover during a protest in 2017 will receive a $5 million settlement from the city.
According to the original indictment, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD) Detective Luther Hall, a 22-year veteran-of-the-force, was viciously kicked and beaten with a baton, causing injuries to his lip and jaw, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
He also suffered multiple herniated discs as a result of the attack, and his jaw injuries made it difficult for him to eat.
Det. Hall remains employed by the SLMPD, but it is unclear whether he has returned to full duty since the attack, KSDK reported.
Under the settlement agreement, the city has a 45-day window in which to hand over the $5 million.
Five of Det. Hall’s fellow SLMPD officers have been federally indicted as a result of the assault, and are not included in the settlement, KDSK reported.
According to prosecutors, SLMPD Officers Dustin Boone, Randy Hayes, Christopher Myers, and Bailey Colletta were among 200 members of the St. Louis police force who were assigned to the “Civil Disobedience Team” ahead of the 2017 protest, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
On Sep. 17, 2017, they were working crowd control following the trial of former St. Louis Police Officer Jason Stockley, who was acquitted for the on-duty shooting death of drug dealer Anthony Lamar Smith.
The verdict led to nights of rioting.
“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!!!!” Officer Boone wrote in a text message, according to the indictment.
Prosecutors said that Officers Boone, 35, Hayes, 31, and Myers, 27, mistakenly believed undercover Det. Hall was a protester, so they assaulted him “while he was compliant and not posing a physical threat to anyone.”
During her change of plea hearing on Sept. 6, 2019, Colletta, 26, admitted that there was “very little protest activity” when they encountered undercover Det. Hall near the intersection of Olive Street and 14th Street, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
She said that Det. Hall was complying with her orders to get onto his knees when the other three officers tackled him to the ground.
Colletta admitted that the detective they believed was a protester was not committing any crime and that he did not do anything to justify the use of force doled out by the officers, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
After they learned that the person they attacked and arrested was an undercover detective, the three officers attempted to cover up the incident by claiming Det. Hall was non-compliant and resisted arrest, prosecutors said.
The three officers then attempted to contact Det. Hall in an effort to convince him not to pursue legal or disciplinary action against them.
Officer Myers has also been accused of destroying Det. Hall’s phone in order to obstruct the investigation.
Officer Colletta, who was in a romantic relationship with Officer Hayes at the time of the assault, initially told investigators that she did not know Det. Hall and that she never saw him on the night of his arrest, according to the indictment.
She also lied to investigators by claiming that the undercover detective was “brought to the ground very gently,” and presented the grand jury with “misleading and inconsistent explanations” regarding the supposed “textbook arrest,” the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported.
Officer Colletta had been with the department for just 18 months at the time of the indictment.
SLMPD Officer Steve Korte was federally indicted in 2019 for his alleged role in the attack, KSDK reported.
Officer Korte has been charged for lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) by claiming he had not participated in Det. Hall’s arrest, as well as for civil rights violations.
Det. Hall’s civil lawsuits against the officers remains ongoing, KSDK reported.
The federal trial for Boone, Myers, and Korte, who is still on the force, is slated to begin on March 15, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Now-former Officer Hays is expected to testify for the prosecution.
Hays previously pleaded guilty to felony deprivation of rights under color of law, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Colletta has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and to a federal grand jury about the attack.
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Author: Holly Matkin
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