The city of St. Louis has agreed to pay $5 million to a Black police officer who was brutally assaulted by a group of White officers while he was working undercover during a protest in 2017.
According to KSDK, the settlement agreement to award Officer Luther Hall the money was signed by Mayor Lyda Krewson, Lt. Col. Lawrence O’Toole and Sgt. Joseph Marcantano. The city has 45 days to pay him.
The assault occurred during the protests that erupted in the city after a police officer was acquitted for fatally shooting a Black man. Per his lawsuit, Officer Hall alleged he was assaulted by the officers while he was serving undercover in downtown St. Louis investigating a case involving protesters who had caused damage to property within the area. Hall alleged he encountered officers using pepper spray and firing bean bag rounds at the protesters though there wasn’t any reason to be aggressive.
Thinking he was also a protester, officers Christopher Myers, Dustin Boone and Randy Hays allegedly wrestled Hall to the ground and started kicking and beating him with a baton, prosecutors said, according to KSDK. Hall sustained an injury to his tailbone and suffered a 2-centimeter laceration on top of one of his lips. He ended up having to undergo surgery to repair herniated discs in his neck and back, the lawsuit stated. Hall was also unable to eat as a result of being kicked in the face during the assault.
Myers, Boone, Hays, and two other officers – Bailey Colletta and Steve Korte – were federally indicted for their involvement in the assault. Following the incident, the lawsuit alleged the officers attempted to cover it up. Colletta later pled guilty to lying about the incident while Korte was indicted for civil rights violations and also for lying as he initially denied his involvement in Hall’s arrest. Hall has filed a separate civil lawsuit against the officers which is still being heard in court.
Hall, who is still an employee of the department, also accused Sgt. Joseph Marcantano of partaking in the beating. Marcantano was later promoted to sergeant. After the attack, Hall further alleged Mayor Krewson made mention of him messing up his “cute face” during an elevator ride. Krewson, however, later said she knew nothing about the assault, KSDK reported.
The intent of using excessive force against the protesters by some of the indicted officers seems to have been premeditated as text messages obtained by federal agents during investigations laid bare what they wanted to do, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“Let’s whoop some ass,” Officer Myers wrote in a text. In another, he wrote: “The bosses are being a little more lenient with the use of force by us.”
“The more the merrier!!!” Officer Boone also wrote. “It’s going to be fun beating the hell out of these sheads once the sun goes down and nobody can tell us apart … Just fpeople up when they don’t act right!”
They assaulted their undercover colleague officer on the third night of the protests, reports said.