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‘If It Was a Protester It Wouldn’t Be a Problem at All’: Four White St. Louis Officers Beat Black Undercover Cop During 2017 Protest, He Just Won a $5 Million Settlement

The city of St. Louis will pay $5 million dollars to a Black police officer who was beaten by several other officers while at a protest in 2017.

St. Louis Police detective Luther Hall filed a lawsuit against the city in 2019, alleging he was assaulted by colleagues who beat him while he was working undercover during a street protest over the acquittal of an officer who’d been charged with murdering a Black man in 2011.

The settlement agreement was signed by Mayor Lyda Krewson, Lt. Col. Lawrence O’Toole and Sgt. Joseph Marcantano, KSDK reported Monday. The city has 45 days to pay Hall.

In the suit, filed in U.S. District Court, Hall claimed his colleagues beat him because they thought he was a protester, then tried to cover it up.

On Sept. 17, 2017, Hall was at a protest in response to the acquittal of former St. Louis Police Officer Jason Stockley, who had been charged with murdering Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011.

In the nights following Stockley’s acquittal, heated protests took place across the city, resulting in injured police officers and the vandalism of Mayor Krewson’s home.

During the demonstration, a group of officers allegedly ran into Hall, thinking he was a protester, and beat him.

During the beating, Hall was kicked in the face, leaving him unable to eat.

According to the lawsuit, Hall also suffered a tailbone injury and a 2-centimeter laceration above one of his lips. He also had surgery to repair herniated discs in his neck and back.

Officers Christopher Myers, Dustin Boone, Randy Hays and Bailey Colletta were federally indicted for their alleged roles in the assault in December 2018. The indictment said the officers used “unreasonable force” to arrest Hall, who was not committing a crime.

In 2019, a fifth officer, Steve Korte, was federally indicted for civil rights violations and lying to the FBI by claiming he was not involved in Hall’s arrest. 

In his lawsuit, Hall alleged that Joseph Marcantano also took part in the beating but was later promoted to sergeant, claiming, “misconduct is not only protected but rewarded by the City and Department.”

Hall also claimed Mayor Krewson said Hall had messed up his “cute face” during in elevator ride after the attack, then later claimed she knew nothing about the incident.

Jacob Long, a spokesman for the mayor, as well as City Counselor Michael Garvin and Hall’s lawyer Lynette Petruska, all declined comment about the settlement.

Colletta pled guilty to lying to the FBI after claiming in court she didn’t know Hall and that he was “brought to the ground very gently” in a “textbook arrest.”

Hays pleaded guilty to a felony count of deprivation of rights under the law. Hays admitted to hitting Luther several times with a riot baton. Damning texts later revealed his lack of empathy following the incident, stating at one point that “if it was a protester it wouldn’t be a problem at all.”

The federal criminal trial for the other three officers is scheduled for March.

Hall remains employed by the department.

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