The federal trial of two former and current St. Louis police officers charged in the beating of a Black undercover police officer at a protest in 2017 ended in no convictions on Monday, March 29.
In a partial verdict, a jury of 11 whites and one black woman found one officer not guilty of all charges and it was ruled deadlocked by U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry on charges against the other two cops after deliberating for nearly 14 hours.
St. Louis police Detective Luther Hall was working undercover at a protest in 2017 when he was approached by a group of officers who thought he was a protester and proceeded beat him.
Steven Korte, who is still on the force, was found not guilty of all charges. Former Officer Christopher Myers was acquitted on one count of deprivation of rights and jury could not reach a verdict in the destruction of property charge against him. The jury could not come to a unanimous decision on either count against former officer Dustin Boone, who was charged with depriving Hall of his civil rights under the color of law and aiding and abetting in the commission of a crime.
Boone, Myers and Korte were all charged with depriving Hall of his civil rights under the color of law, which carried a maximum sentence of 10 years.
Myers was also charged with destruction of evidence after he allegedly destroyed Hall’s phone to get rid of evidence and hamper the investigation. Korte was charged with lying to the FBI by stating he wasn’t part of the arrest.
Korte was left free to go, and Boone and Myers were released on bond.
The Ethical Society of Police, an organization representing mostly Black officers in St. Louis, said in a statement provided to KDSK, “The Ethical Society of Police respects the decision of the jury, but we strongly disagree with the verdict. There was clear evidence to convict former St. Louis City Police Officers Christopher Myers, Dustin Boone, and Steven Korte. The injuries Detective Luther Hall sustained were consistent with being beaten by multiple subjects.”
The statement continued, “Police officers continue to escape the consequences of their actions. The criminal justice system continues to show African-American victims of police violence we do not receive the same level of justice when white police officers are accused of excessive force toward African Americans.”
On Sept. 17, 2017, Hall was at a protest in response to the acquittal of former St. Louis Officer Jason Stockley, who had been charged with murdering Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011. During the beating carried out by his own colleagues, Hall was kicked in the face, which left him unable to eat.
Hall also suffered a tailbone injury, according to court documents, sustained a 2-centimeter laceration above his lip and had surgery to repair herniated disks in his neck and back.
St. Louis agreed to pay Hall $5 million earlier this year to settle a lawsuit he filed against the city in 2019.
In the suit, Hall claimed he was also beaten by officer Joseph Marcantonio, who was later promoted to sergeant, claiming, “misconduct is not only protected but rewarded by the City and Department.”
Two other former officers, Randy Hays and Bailey Colletta, pleaded guilty for their roles in the beating and are awaiting sentencing.
St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden said the department will now move forward with an internal investigation into the beating.
“It is our hope to now obtain all relevant evidence from the FBI to conduct a complete and thorough internal investigation,” he said in a statement.
Hall was in the courtroom when the verdict was returned. His friends told KDSK he was “devastated” by the decision.