Officer files lawsuit against own agency claiming excessive force while working undercover during protest

ST. LOUIS – A St. Louis officer is accusing his own police department of excessive force while he was working undercover during a protest in 2017, and then trying to cover it up.

Detective Luther Hall’s lawsuit filed this week in U.S. District Court alleges that his colleagues slammed him down twice and then beat him with batons and fists days after ex-officer Jason Stockley was found not guilty of killing a black man, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The lawsuit claims Hall was working undercover in a crowd of people who were protesting the acquittal of Stockley, a white officer. The protesters damaged windows and flowerpots before — without any audible warning or justification — responding officers started using pepper spray and beanbag rounds to get them to disperse, the suit added.

It was during those moments, the lawsuit says, Hall had his hands up and was instructed to get on the ground when he allegedly was attacked.

Hall was removed from the scene and given medical treatment after a SWAT officer recognized him. But police — in an alleged cover-up attempt — never made any documentation of the arrest, reported the Post-Dispatch, citing the lawsuit.


2017 St. Louis protests. (Photo source unnamed resident via St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

The alleged unlawful use of force is said to have left Hall with several herniated discs and a jaw injury that has inhibited his ability to eat. Moreover, the undercover officer has not returned to work since.

Hall’s lawsuit is filed against police officers Bailey Colletta, Randy Hays, Dustin Boone and Christopher Myers, the city, its mayor, Lyda Krewson, and others. It seeks damages for claims including excessive force, assault, false arrest and civil conspiracy.

The lawsuit’s allegations mirror claims federal prosecutors made against those four officers in a December indictment, which says they attacked Hall while arresting him without probable cause, the news agency adds.

So far, Colletta has pleaded guilty to one federal charge and has admitted to lying to the FBI and a grand jury about the nature of Hall’s arrest, while the other three officers have pleaded not guilty and are set to head to trial later this year.

Colletta faces at a 30-month exposure in prison at her sentencing hearing this December, according to the Post-Dispatch.


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