Retired St. Louis officer, beaten by former colleagues, awarded $23M

A former St. Louis police officer has been awarded $23 million after he was beaten by other officers while working undercover in 2017.

Luther Hall, the former officer, won Monday after the defendant — one of his former colleagues — failed to respond to a lawsuit over the attack, according to court records.

Hall, who is Black, was attacked by his colleagues at a protest in September 2017. The demonstration had been organized after Jason Stockley, a white police officer, was acquitted of killing Anthony Lamar Smith, a 24-year-old Black man.

Hall said earlier this week that he and his partner were working the protest undercover and were assigned to arrest anyone inciting violence or damaging property.

But during his assignment, a police officer ordered Hall to the ground. Though Hall began to comply, he was “forcefully thrown to the ground twice, kicked, and hit by fists and police batons all over his body.”

At Monday’s hearing, he said the attack left him with several herniated discs and a jaw injury that made him unable to eat. He also developed gallstones with complications, requiring surgeries, he said. Hall also suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and was too disabled to work. He retired early, ending his 22-year career with the St. Louis Police Department.

“Mr. Hall had to endure this severe beating, and while that was happening, he knew it was being administered by his colleagues who were sworn to serve and protect,” Judge Joseph Whyte of the St. Louis Circuit Court said in his ruling.

After settling a $5 million civil case with the city, Hall sued three of his former colleagues —Randy Hays, Dustin Boone and Christopher Myers — for their roles in the attack. All three are white.

The judge in the federal case sentenced Boone to one year in prison, while Myers was given a year of probation.

But Hays never responded to the lawsuit, though he was served while he was in prison on a civil rights violation, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Whyte issued a default judgment against Hays and noted in his decision that a text Hays sent to another officer claimed that had the beating been directed at a protester instead of an officer, “it wouldn’t be a problem at all.”

This text, Whyte said, indicated a “complete indifference” to “an individual he believed to be an unarmed African American doing nothing wrong.”

Hays was sentenced to more than four years in prison in 2021 and is in the custody of the St. Louis Residential Reentry Management Office. He has one year to contest the judgment.

Hall is also seeking arbitration from a fifth officer, Steve Korte, who was indicted in the federal case but later acquitted.

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