On Monday, Nov. 22, as a U.S. District Court sentenced a white former St. Louis police officer to prison after a jury convicted him of assaulting an undercover Black detective during an anti-police violence protest in 2017.
However, the judge gave the white cop a substantially shorter sentence than recommended by the prosecution.
Dustin Boone, the ex-cop, was one of five white officers charged with the assault of Luther Hall. He will now serve a year and a day for his crime. This is substantially less than the 10 years that the state suggested and the 26 months that his own defense asked for.
His official conviction was aiding and abetting the deprivation of civil rights under the color of law.
The defense sought to minimize its client’s participation in the beating, saying that Boone did not participate in the beating but merely held Hall, the Black man, down while others beat him. Boone shared with the court that he thought the man was being arrested and was supporting his colleagues that served with him on the force.
However, texts attributed to Boone tells a different story. One text read, “A lot of cops getting hurt. It’s still a blast beating people who deserve it.” Another read, “It’s going to be a lot of fun beating the sh** out of these sh**heads.”
When Boone was employed by the St. Louis Police Department, was a part of its Civil Disobedience Team, a special unit pulled together to stop civil unrest by using extreme force.
The squad was needed because people in the city protested after Jason Stockley, another white former officer, was acquitted of the police-involved killing of Anthony Lamar Smith, another Black man. The “Riot Police,” as they would later be known, used pepper balls, mace, and tear gas, among other tactics.
U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry agreed with the ACLU of Missouri and supporting activists who said that the officers were punishing protestors. At the time, Perry said that their use of force was in an “arbitrary and retaliatory fashion to punish protesters for voicing criticism of police or recording police conduct.”
Hall was embedded among the protesters when he was dragged down by his fellow officers. Ironically, like his white colleagues, he was only at the protest seeking to find people who were breaking the law and vandalizing property.
Hall describes his experience as being beaten “like Rodney King,” and said that he is “forever changed” by the experience. He stated, “It will never be normal. I can never put this behind me because the pain reminds me of what my fellow officers did to me.”
While Boone continues to contend that he only held Hall down, the four other officers admitted to their part in Hall’s ordeal.
KSDK states that Randy Hays pleaded guilty to hitting Hall. He was sentenced to 52 months. Bailey Colletta admitted to lying to the FBI about what she knew of the Hall beating. She received no jail time. Christopher Myers copped to a misdemeanor charge, after suspicions of him tampering with evidence by breaking Hall’s cellphone that allegedly captured the attack. Steven Korte, the last of the bunch, was acquitted.
Boone’s case was investigated by the FBI and his trial lasted nine days. It ran simultaneously with both the controversial Kyle Rittenhouse and the Ahmaud Arbery cases.
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