A second St. Louis police officer pleaded guilty Friday after assaulting an undercover cop and attempting to cover up the beating. Another officer previously pled guilty to making false statements to a federal grand jury when questioned about the attack.
On September 15, 2017, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD) Officer Jason Stockley was acquitted of a first-degree murder charge after fatally shooting Anthony Lamar Smith following a car chase in December 2011. In response to the acquittal, protests erupted throughout the city as police in riot gear descended upon the angry demonstrators.
Two days after the verdict, a 22-year police veteran named Det. Luther Hall was assigned to work undercover in downtown St. Louis during the protests. Disguised as a protester, Hall worked in an undercover capacity in order to record and document criminal activity so that other SLMPD officers could lawfully arrest individuals who were committing crimes.
According to the indictment, SLMPD officers Dustin Boone, Randy Hays, and Christopher Myers mistakenly thought Det. Hall was a genuine protester before throwing him to the ground, kicking him in the face, and beating him with police batons for no justifiable reason. In addition to mutilating Hall’s cellphone in order to destroy any evidence of their crime, the officers allegedly made efforts to dissuade Hall from pursuing legal action against them and attempted to influence the testimony of potential witnesses.
As a result of the attack, Hall sustained several injuries, some of which are permanent, including inflamed jaw muscles, a cut on his lip, a tailbone injury, and herniated discs in his neck that required surgery.
In the days prior to the beating, the officers exchanged multiple incriminating text messages boasting about their intent to assault protesters without repercussions. In one text message, Boone wrote, “It’s gonna get IGNORANT tonight!! But it’s gonna be a lot of fun beating the hell out of these shitheads once the sun goes down and nobody can tell us apart!!!!”
During a federal grand jury investigation in June 2018, Officer Bailey Colletta, who was in a romantic relationship with Randy Hays at the time of the Stockley protests, lied to an FBI agent about not knowing who Hall was and denied coming into contact with him on the night of the arrest. She also made a series of false and misleading statements to the grand jury, including stating that Hall “was brought to the ground very gently.”
On November 29, 2018, Boone, Colletta, Hays, and Myers were indicted on various felony charges, including deprivation of constitutional rights, conspiracy to obstruct justice, destruction of evidence, and obstruction of justice.
On September 6, Colletta pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to a federal grand jury about her knowledge of the arrest and assault of a fellow SLMPD police officer. She faces a maximum of five years in prison and was forced to forfeit her law enforcement certification.
On Friday, Hays pleaded guilty to one count of using unreasonable and excessive force against a fellow SLMPD police officer. He admitted to throwing Hall to the ground before kicking him in the face and beating him three to five times with a police baton. Hays faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and was also forced to forfeit his law enforcement certification.
Boone and Myers remain under indictment on federal charges related to the assault and subsequent cover-up. They have pleaded not guilty. Their trial is currently scheduled to begin on December 2.
Hays’ sentencing is currently scheduled for March 17 before U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry. He remains free on bond until sentencing.