Taxpayers in St. Louis have ended up holding the bag for the actions of local police officers accused of beating and severely injuring one of their fellow cops during a 2017 protest.
St. Louis Officer Luther Hall has secured a $5 million settlement agreement in his lawsuit against the city, related to his alleged assault by members of the St. Louis Police Department while he was working undercover as a demonstrator during protests against police violence.
The irony is real.
KSDK News reports that the settlement agreement was signed by St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, as well as Lt. Col. Lawrence O’Toole and Sgt. Joseph Marcantano of the police department. The city now has 45 days to hand over payment to Hall.
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In his civil lawsuit against the city, Hall claimed Krewson made a comment about how he had messed up his “cute face,” during an elevator ride following the attack and later denied knowing about the assault.
He also claimed fellow officers tried to cover up the beating, during which Hall — a 22-year veteran of the police force — was kicked in the face, leaving him unable to eat.
He 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, according to the lawsuit.
He also accused Marcantano of participating in the beating, getting promoted to sergeant afterwards.
According to KSDK, other citizens have filed lawsuits against the city claiming that police used unjustified force against them during protests that took place in St. Louis in September 2017, after former police officer Jason Stockley was acquitted for the killing of a Black man. However, those cases are still pending and somehow I doubt they will also result in a million-dollar payout.
Meanwhile, the federal cases for three officers who were indicted on charges related to their roles in the alleged assault of Hall are still making their way through the courts. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, officers Christopher Myers, Dustin Boone, and Steven Korte are facing charges that they deprived Hall of his civil rights by arresting him without probable cause at the protest and using unreasonable force to take him into custody. Their criminal trial is set to begin on March 15, and the prosecutors’ findings seem to show that the officers were eager to brutalize demonstrators who were exercising their right to assembly and make their voices heard. The sickening frivolity just came back to bite the cops because they went after one of their own.
From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
“Let’s whoop some ass,” Officer Christopher Myers wrote, according to texts obtained by federal agents. Later, he added: “The bosses are being a little more lenient with the use of force by us.”
“The more the merrier!!!” Officer Dustin Boone wrote. “It’s going to be fun beating the hell out of these sheads once the sun goes down and nobody can tell us apart … Just fpeople up when they don’t act right!”
On the third night of protests, the two officers confronted a middle-age Black protester named Luther Hall. Hall later told authorities his hands were raised when someone grabbed him from behind and slammed him into the ground face first. Then, Hall said, he was struck by police batons and boots. He required spinal surgery, and for weeks struggled to eat through a bruised jaw.
Boone and Myers, as well as Randy Hays and Bailey Colletta—two cops who have already pleaded guilty to charges related to the beating as well as lying to the FBI and a federal grand jury—have since left the St. Louis Police Department.
Both Hall and Korte still work on the same force.