A former St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department officer was sentenced to more than four years in prison Tuesday for his role in the 2017 beating of a Black colleague who was working undercover as a protester.
Randy Hays, 34, admitted to hitting the undercover officer, Luther Hall, with a baton and shoving him to the ground even though Hall was not a threat or resisting arrest. He pleaded guilty in 2019 to using unreasonable and excessive force.
In court Tuesday, Hays apologized to Hall and said, “I am a good person, but I made a mistake,” the St Louis Post-dispatch reported.
Hays, who was one of multiple officers that took part in the beating, was sentenced Tuesday to 52 months in prison and two years of probation. Two other officers are set to be sentenced for their involvement in the incident.
Hall said in a statement read by prosecutors in court Tuesday that he is still dealing with the physical and mental impacts of the assault.
“My physical being, mental health and overall life will never be the same,” he said, according to a copy of the statement shared by KSDK. “The decision of these officers has altered my career, professional, and personal life.”
“I have had three surgeries and multiple procedures to attempt to relieve the pain I feel every day,” he said. “The reality is I will live out the rest of my life in some degree of pain.”
Hall added that he had also been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress since the attack. He settled a lawsuit with the police department for $5 million earlier this year.
The beating occurred in September 2017, when St. Louis, Missouri, erupted in protest following the acquittal of St Louis police officer Jason Stockley in the 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith, a Black man. Hall was working undercover to identify and monitor protesters who were damaging property and reporting it to police intelligence.
Hays, who is white, and the other officers, mistakenly believed Hall was a protester. According to a civil complaint brought by Hall, he was following a group of protesters when a vehicle stopped in front of him and police officers jumped out.
Hall had put his hands up, with his cell phone in one hand and his camera in the other, when he was “picked up and slammed face first into the ground” twice, the complaint said. Hall was surrounded and beaten by officers with their batons, fists, and boots.
Officers then arrested Hall, who was bleeding from his lip, nose, and face, searched his backpack, and tossed his camera to the ground, breaking it. An officer continued to hit Hall in the head and face with his knee pad or shin guard, according to the civil complaint.
The FBI obtained text messages that showed some of the officers involved discussing violence prior to the protests.
“It’s gonna be a lot of fun beating the hell out of these [expletives] once the sun goes down and nobody can tell us apart,” Officer Dustin Boone had texted to Officer Christopher Myers, according to criminal courts records obtained by the Washington Post.
Boone was found guilty in June of deprivation of rights under color of law, with his sentencing expected in September, the Associated Press reported. Jurors could not reach a verdict on Myers.
Former officer Bailey Colletta, who pleaded guilty to making false statements related to the incident, is set to be sentenced Thursday.