ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- The prosecution rested Monday afternoon, following their final piece of presented evidence, which was a series of text messages from Hall and Myers. Both defendants have said they will not take the stand as the defense begins its case. Below are updates from the courthouse, with the most recent events first.
3:25 p.m. Officer who cuffed Hall takes the stand
Sergeant Anthony Caruso was called as the defense continued to move quickly through their witness list. Caruso was on the scene at the intersection of Hall's arrest. Boone and Hays were on Caruso's team that night, and Caruso recalled being told that there were two individuals they were supposed to be looking for who were wanted for failure to disperse or property damage. He would later say he did not know where that information came from.
Caruso said as he approached the intersection he saw a group of officers converge on an individual and that someone knocked that person to the ground. Caruso said the takedown was like a "hockey check." As he walked up to the arrest, he came around the electrical box and saw Hall on the ground with officers, and he placed the flex cuffs on Hall.
He had questions about why Hall was on the ground, but he didn't see the moments leading up to him being taken to the ground, so he didn't assume there was anything unlawful in the arrest.
"When you saw the hockey check, you did not see what that officer saw before he made the hockey check?" Rosenblum asked.
"Correct," Caruso said.
"Officers rely on the probable cause of fellow officers. They don't stop and check for a civil right's violation?"
"Correct," Caruso said, later adding that he did not see anything that looked like a civil rights violation and would have reported it if he did.
Caruso testified that he saw Dustin Boone crouching down near Hall's head and Randy Hays on Hall's left side. At that point he said he didn't see anything that caused him concern, other than the fact that Hall- then thought to be a suspect- was not yet cuffed and his hands were by his side. So Caruso cuffed him.
Rosenblum used a quick set of questions to establish that at no point did Caruso see anything, in his recollection, that would have led him to believe an investigation would result from what happened at the intersection. This is important to Myers' defense, as the prosecution must prove he knew an investigation was coming and thus attempted to destroy the phone. Using Caruso's testimony, Rosenblum is implying that Myers couldn't have known there would be any investigation, especially during the time the phone was damaged.
Thursday's trial proceedings began where Wednesday's testimony left off, with Detective Luther Hall recounting the night of his assault in emotional testimony.
Rosenblum also spent a great deal of his examination on establishing once again the chaos of the night, having Caruso detail the mismatched CDT teams and somewhat disorganized response at times to riots.
He focused on the fact pepper balls had been fired in the area and that Caruso was affected by them. The sergeant detailed how he had difficulty breathing and his eyes were watering, and Rosenblum had him also recount previous instances of protesters throwing objects and substances at police.
However during her rebuttal, Constantin said while those things happened over the course of the weekend protests, no one was throwing anything at officers at the intersection of 14th and Olive when they arrived. In fact, she said, it appeared relatively calm at that time. Caruso agreed, saying there was a group of people running, but they were not in close proximity to the officers.
She also pointed out that Dustin Boone, Randy Hays, and Bailey Colletta were not members of an arrest team, but were supposed to be on a line team.
Using the same photos of the scene the defense referenced, Constantin then established that, based on the timestamps, Caruso may not have moved to the Hall arrest as quickly as he thought. He believed he was on the scene in a matter of seconds, but the photos show him present at Landry Ford's arrest for longer than he recalled before he came to zip tie Hall.
This was important because while the defense had Caruso testify that he didn't see anything around Hall's arrest that caused him to think Hall's civil rights were violated, the prosecution was establishing he did not see everything that happened, and was in fact possibly not privy to what happened between Hall going to the ground and him being eventually cuffed.
3:15 p.m. Lieutenant Michael Mayo takes the stand
Another longtime police veteran took the stand after Crews, as Lt. Michael Mayo, who was at the intersection where Hall was arrested, gave his testimony.
Rosenblum used photos of the scene that captured Mayo walking up to the scene of Hall's arrest. Mayo is not wearing his helmet, and Rosenblum asked him if there was an ongoing altercation going on if it would be against guidelines to have his helmet off. Mayo said it would.
He also asked him if he saw anything in the photos of Hall cuffed on the curb that would have given Mayo concern at the time. Mayo said no.
"Did you see anything that would have caused you to believe a crime had taken place," Rosenblum asked?
"No," Mayo replied.
"Anything that would give you pause to think a civil rights violation had taken pace?"
"No," Mayo said.
In her rebuttal, Constantin pointed out that Mayo was not on scene until 8:54, which is after Hall's assault.
3:00 p.m. Lieutenant Joseph Crews testifies
Lt. Crews followed Mack, and the 31-year veteran recalled a conversation in which he saw Hall after the incident and asked him what happened. He says Hall told him he was "running with the s---heads," and got arrested, and was thrown to the ground by police. Myers' attorney Scott Rosenblum had Crews specify that that meant Hall was with "the worst of the worst" of the people on the street, and Crews agreed that's what that meant.
Constantin rebutted by showing a different report in which investigators wrote that Crews said Hall said "he was running with everyone" that night. Rosenblum began questioning him about his interaction with federal attorneys during that interview, but withdrew when the prosecution objected.
2:45 Sergeant Kyle Mack testifies
Wednesday began with a detailed examination of nearly 100 photographs taken by Lawrence Bryant, a photojournalist working for the St. Louis American and Reuters the weekend of the Stockley protests.
The defense began their witness list with Sergeant Kyle Mack, focusing specifically on a conversation he relayed to FBI investigators that he had with then-officer Joseph Marcantano (Marcantano was later promoted to Sergeant).
Mack said Marcantano told him he dropped Hall's camera by accident, and then dropped it again while he was trying to pick it up. Mack said at the time he told the investigators about the conversation, he wasn't sure Marcantano was telling the truth, saying he thought he was "falling on his sword." However, it was not clear what he believed Marcantano was concealing.
2:15 p.m. Defense asks for dimissals
Both defense teams asked for the cases to be dismissed by the court following the prosecution resting, saying the government has not adequately proved their case.
A member of Myers' defense team made a long argument, saying the government has presented no evidence Myers knew there was a livestream happening on Hall's phone, and prosecutors have to prove he destroyed evidence in anticipation of an investigation. He argued that there has not been adequate proof Myers intentionally damaged the phone, or that he did so with intent to impede investigators.
He also argued that damage to the phone does not constitute damage to the evidence, as the evidence itself was an uploaded file, not the phone. He argued that if there are files of evidence in a file cabinet, and someone damages the outside of the cabinet, they did not destroy the evidence.
The judge denied both motions to dismiss, however. Before court resumed, both Myers and Boone invoked their Fifth Amendment rights, which means they will not take the stand.
2:10 p.m. Prosecution rests following text messages
The prosecution once again presented text messages from Boone and Myers, many of which were shown at the first trial. Most of the messages shown were sent by Boone.
"Jesus I feel [f------] awful! I was dumbfounded when the commanders told me he was a cop. So damn embarrassing to be involved anywhere near this." Boone texted a colleague in one message.
In another his father texted him and said he heard Hall was still in a lot of pain. He then asked, "you didn't call him any names or anything did you?"
"No I didn't say ANYHTING out of line or off color," Boone replied.
"You must have put a pretty good whooping on him," his dad said.
"Yeah unfortunately, not one I am very proud of," Boone texted back.
Prosecutors also called up a message from Myers in which he told a colleague "I have been wanting to apologize to him (Hall) personally and I feel bad. We obviously didn't know he was a policeman."
The evidence wrapped with a series of texts from Boone detailing violence toward suspects, including one about a person who led him on a lengthy chase.
"Dude got GOT in a dead end gangway by me and he's not in good shape right now," he said.
"He was crying and bloody for making me run that far," he said in another message, though it's unclear if that is reference to the same suspect.
"got his eyes widened a little with a slap from a white boy"
When someone texted him saying "I hope you beat that kid's ass," Boone replied "We didn't take him to Children's for nothing," then complained that Real Time Crime Center cameras made it hard to get away with being physical with suspects, so he had to take the suspect behind a privacy fence.
The defense did not have any questions, and prosecutors rested.
1:45 p.m. Myers' former partner testifies
The first witness to take the stand at trial was Lewis Naes, who was called by prosecutors to walk through the events the night of Hall's assault.
Officer Martin Walls was called Monday afternoon, becoming the second of Myers' former partners prosecutors have called to testify. Like Justin Davis before him, Walls said Myers is a close friend and remains so even now. Both he and Davis are black and were partners with Myers for extended periods of time, and the defense has made a point of having both officers discuss their ongoing friendship with Myers.
Like Kleffner, Walls said he recalled Boone saying he held Hall's head down, but also said Boone never said anything about being part of the assault. Defense attorneys also used Walls' recollection to establish the disorganization and chaos surrounding the response to the riots that weekend.
1:24 p.m. "He was always consistent."
Detective Andrew Kleffner's testimony followed, in which he recounted the conversations he and Boone had about Hall's assault while the two were partners. Kleffner said Boone was "always consistent" in those conversations, with Boone reportedly telling him he did not take Hall to the ground, but instead held him down so officers could cuff him.
Kleffner said Boone told him he had his knee in Hall's upper back and his hand/forearm on Hall's head. If he moved his head, Boone would push it down. When asked, he said Boone never told him he slammed Hall's head down.
The prosecution used this testimony to show Boone was part of the arrest, and that his actions, especially if determined to be excessive force, could mean he aided in the deprivation of Hall's rights. The prosecution also asked Kleffner if Boone ever told him Hall resisted arrest, and Kleffner said Boone never told him that when talking about the incident.
However the defense used Kleffner's testimony to attempt to show Boone was not part of the assault, and that he never confessed to any excessive force. Kleffer also said he that what Boone described to him- his actions on the night and how chaotic the night was- made sense. He did, however, say he thought it was odd Boone asserted that he couldn't see what the other officers were doing because he was focused on Hall's upper body.
1:10 p.m. Dr. Buchowski testifies
The focus again turned to Hall's injuries in the afternoon as the prosecution called Dr. Jacob Buchowski of Washingtin University.
Buchowski, an orthopaedic spine surgeon, treated Luther Hall for the injuries he sustained during the assault. Buchowski detailed the symptoms Hall was dealing with after his beating, including shooting pain in his neck and back, weakness in his upper left shoulder and arm, and numbness in his fingers. He also suffered from ongoing headaches.
For the second time, an all-white jury was selected in the trial of two white former SLMPD officers accused of assaulting an undercover Black detective and attempting to destroy the evidence of that attack.
Hall saw Buchowski as a second opinion after a doctor recommended surgery to fix Hall's damaged disks in his neck. Buchowski said there were two protruding disks, and they were causing pressure on nearby nerves.
Despite a nerve block and steroid injection, Hall's pain returned and he described it to doctors as a seven on a scale from 1-10. He also had decreased strength and sensation in his left shoulder, arm, and hand. Because physical therapy and injections were not able to fix the issue, Buchowski recommended surgery.
On October 2, 2018, Buchowski performed a procedure to remove the two herniated disks in his neck and replace them with cadaver bones. The affected vertebrae were fused together and a plate was fixed to the spine to hold the the bones in the fused region in place.
Hall was in a hard neck cast for six weeks and then a soft brace for six more.
The defense had Buchowski explain that disks can herniate due to an acute incident, or repeated incidents over time. They can also herniate without an inciting incident. However, Buchowski testified that with Hall, he believed at the time of the exam the injuries were consistent with him being assaulted.
10:10 a.m. Video, photos used by defense
During cross-examination, the two defense attorneys took slightly different approaches. Patrick Kilgore, defending Boone, used the photos of the scene to argue his client was not part of the initial altercation with Hall. He focused on a set of photos that show Boone north of the scene where the assault is taking place. The FBI investigator has established the exact time, based on the video, when officers made contact with Hall.
At 8:53:51 p.m., a female officer can be heard demanding Hall get on the ground (that is former officer Bailey Colletta, who has pleaded guilty for her role in the incident). Kilgore was attempting to establish that when the contact happened, and the assault quickly followed, Boone was not in the immediate area.
Hall's video shows two officers in the area where he was assaulted, which is between a mobile generator that was on the scene and an electrical box at the corner 14th and Olive. One of those officers is Randy Hays, but it is unclear who the other is. Using specific timestamps of the video and matching them with timestamps of photos taken at the same time, especially in the moments when a baton is clearly visible, Kilgore showed Boone was not in the area between the generator and electrical box.
Rosenblum began by using the photos to trace the movements of an officer believed to be Randy Hays. The attorney has contended that one of Hays' baton strikes during the assault is what damaged Hall's phone. Hays has pleaded guilty to his role in the assault, but not to damaging the phone.
In later photos, as several officers are standing around Hall, with some on their knees or bending down, Rosenblum showed that Myers was not near the scrum. He also, using the timestamps on the video, showed that the exact moment in which Hays' baton strikes down, Boone and Myers are not near Hall or the phone.
9:15 a.m. FBI photo analyst takes the stand
An FBI field photographer returned to the stand Monday, as testimony began where it left off last week. He said he's spent more than 100 hours watching the footage captured by Hall's cell phone the night of his assault, nearly all of that time focusing on the 30 seconds between when the assault began and when the camera cut off.
Prosecutors moved frame-by-frame through the period of the video during which officers could be seen being physical with Hall, often pulling out still images to examine.
The testimony of the FBI photographer suggested it was clear the phone flipped through the air during the assault, and in one still image it was shown there were two officers in the frame above Hall during the attack. One of them is wearing their sleeves rolled up and carrying an asp baton. Prosecutors have shown photos of Christopher Myers carrying an asp throughout the night, as well as him wearing his uniform sleeves rolled up. They have also contended the phone was damaged by an asp.
While the frame-by-frame examination was lengthy, both the prosecution and the defense have put forth different theories of where the phone was during the assault. Prosecutors worked to establish Monday that the phone remained near the generator where Hall was beaten, and Myers' face being in the final frames before the footage cuts out shows he was in that area and could have intentionally damaged phone.
The defense, using still images of the scene, has contended that the phone was propelled toward Myers during the arrest, and that when he picked it up, he saw blood on the device and tossed it, not wanting to get an unknown substance on his hands. They have also worked to show that the phone was several feet from Hall once he was in cuffs, and several officers were walking in the area, which means they could have damaged it inadvertently