A second St. Louis cop has pleaded guilty in a violent arrest that left a Black undercover cop with multiple herniated discs, a tailbone injury and lip and jaw injuries that made it hard for the officer to eat.
Randy Hays, 32, pleaded guilty Friday in federal court to one count of using unreasonable and excessive force against Luther Hall Sept. 17, 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
On the night in question, Hays, Bailey Colletta, Dustin Boone and Christopher Myers were working a protest after former St. Louis cop Jason Stockley was acquitted in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith, a 24-year-old Black man, the newspaper reported.
Hall was working undercover to investigate protest activity when multiple officers tackled Hall as he was obeying orders to get on his knees, Assistant U.S. Attorney Reginald Harris said.
Hall has said in court documents describing the incident that he was beaten “like Rodney King.” He also said officers who were using pepper spray, pepper balls and bean bag rounds on protesters at the time.
Colletta, 26, admitted she lied when she claimed in court she didn’t know Hall and that he was “brought to the ground very gently” in a “textbook arrest,” Harris said.
She pleaded guilty Sept. 6 to perjury.
Hays admitted that there was no probable cause for Hall’s arrest, that he pushed and hit the man three to five times with a riot baton. Hays’ lack of empathy was captured in a series of damning texts to Boone, obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I don’t like the beating the hell outta a cop, but the department put him in that spot, he could’ve announced himself at 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.”
Prior to that text, Hays bragged about going against the grain, “going rogue does feel good.”
“According to the plea agreement, in addition to facing a maximum of 10 years in prison, Hays must forfeit his law enforcement certification,” the Department of Justice said.
Hays also said he saw “Officer A” kick Hall in the face and that Myers told a supervisor the day after the arrest that he had destroyed Hall’s cellphone, which recorded part of the arrest.
Boone, 36, and Myers, 28, have pleaded not guilty and are expected to begin trial Dec. 2, according to the Department of Justice.
Federal prosecutors detailed plans to pursue new charges Wednesday during a hearing for Boone and Myers, the Post Dispatch reported.
Scott Rosenblum, one of the lawyers representing Myers, told the Post-Dispatch the new charges wouldn’t “change anything.”
“We’re confident in our position at trial,” Rosenblum said.