ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – In emotional testimony Thursday, St. Louis Police Detective Luther Hall detailed an assault by fellow St. Louis officers that left him covered in blood and reportedly unable to eat solid food for weeks after those officers mistakenly took him for a protester in 2017.
Hall was speaking in the trial of Dustin Boone, Steven Korte and Christopher Myers, three St. Louis officers accused of beating him during protests following the acquittal of former officer Jason Stockley. During his testimony, Hall described the events of the night leading up to his beating, as well as the injuries he sustained and what followed after.
The detective said he was working undercover as a protester with his white partner when Stockley was acquitted in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith. He said on the second night of protests in University City he was texting his partner and the two of them were walking across the street from each other because “protesters realize that a black and white guy walking together were likely cops.”
It was a long day of testimony at the federal courthouse on Wednesday, as the trial began against three St. Louis City police officers accused of beating one of their own.
While on the stand, Hall recalled encountering officers prior to the beating and said he did not identify himself to officers so his cover would not be blown. Hall said he didn’t take his gun with him to the protests because he feared being accidentally shot. He said he’s been arrested while working undercover before, adding that when arrested you might get a “smack or a punch” but he had never been beaten as prosecutors claimed he was during the Stockley protest.
Hall said he and his partner were documenting crimes in the area and relaying them to the Real Time Crime Center. He said at points he saw people with claw hammers and baseball bats with barbed wire committing crimes, and said the crowd he was with was maced and had pepper balls fired at them by officers. While on the stand, Hall walked through his livestream video of the protesters. When the video reportedly recorded with his iPhone the night in question abruptly ended, Hall said he then got the “[expletive] beat out of me.”
When he was arrested, Hall said he was told to get on the ground, but when he bent down, he was picked up and slammed face first into the ground twice by officers. He recalled “boots, sticks and fists” hitting his body. He said when he was placed on the curb, he was cursed at when he tried to relieve his pain by stretching.
Jury selection is slated to begin in the trial of three St. Louis police officers accused of beating an undercover cop in 2017.
Hall recalled he was covered in blood from the assault. A medic, he said, was able to put his pinkie through a hole in Hall's lip before taking him to the emergency room. The next morning, Hall said he could barely open his mouth. He went to a dentist and was told the impacts to his head inflamed the muscles in his jaw. Hall said he lost 20 pounds, because it was weeks before he could eat solid food.
Boone, Korte and Myers are currently on trial, and officers Bailey Colletta previously pleaded guilty to covering up the attack. In September Colletta said she lied to the FBI and a federal grand jury investigating the attack, and now faces up to five in prison following her plea.
Additionally officer Randy Hays pleaded guilty to using unreasonable and excessive force against Hall, who received a $5 million settlement from the City of St. Louis in February. It is unknown what sentence Hays will face.
During the testimony, Hall revealed Boone texted him to apologize, saying "I feel like an apology will never be enough," and asking to meet in person. Hall said he never responded to the text because the apology did not feel genuine.
Defense attorneys attempted to establish that Hall couldn't be sure who assaulted him that night, painting a picture of a tense and chaotic scene that Hall was in the middle of. They said Hall conducted his own investigation of the events in question and learned from another officer which officers were actually at the scene. They also attempted to paint a picture that Hall might be confused about the events that unfolded.