St. Louis undercover officer claims colleagues beat him in ‘free for all’ during protest
Newly released court documents describe the incident as a “free for all”
By PoliceOne Staff
ST LOUIS — An undercover police officer claims his colleagues beat him “like Rodney King” when they mistook him for a protestor following the acquittal of a former officer in a fatal shooting, ABC News reports.
Detective Luther Hall describes the attack as a “free for all” in an affidavit that the FBI used to justify searching the accused officers’ cellphones. Four officers were charged in November after the FBI investigated the incident that occurred during a protest in 2017.
Hall and his partner were undercover to document protest activity and property destruction, affidavits say. Hall was carrying a Nikon camera and his cellphone when he became separated from his partner while moving away from officers who were firing pepper-spray pellets and bean bag rounds into the crowd during the protest. According to the affidavit, Hall didn’t hear an order to disperse prior to police using chemical agents and bean bag rounds.
Hall says he was slammed to the ground after a police SUV pulled up and was told to put his hands behind his back, but couldn’t because officers were standing on them. His cellphone screen was shattered and he claims he watched an officer take the battery out of his camera and throw it on the ground, breaking it.
He later received medical treatment in an armoured vehicle before telling someone at headquarters that the officers “beat the [expletive] out of him like Rodney King.”
According to the affidavit, it took three layers of stitches to close the hole in Hall’s lip. He also suffered multiple herniated discs. A jaw injury has made it hard to eat and Hall has also lost about 15 pounds, according to the court documents.
The officers charged were Randy Hays, Bailey Colletta, Dustin Boone and Christopher Myers. Boone, Haysand Myers were accused of the physical assault and charged with depriving Hall of his constitutional rights and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Myers was also accused of destroying Hall’s cell phone. Colletta was charged for allegedly lying to the federal grand jury investigating the incident.