Judge awards $23.5 million to undercover St. Louis officer beaten by colleagues during protest

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis judge on Monday awarded nearly $23.5 million to a former police officer who was beaten by colleagues while working undercover during a protest.

Luther Hall was badly injured in the 2017 attack during one of several protests that followed the acquittal of Jason Stockley, a former St. Louis officer, on a murder charge that stemmed from the shooting death of a Black man.

Hall previously settled a separate lawsuit with the city for $5 million. In 2022, he sued three former colleagues — Randy Hays, Dustin Boone and Christopher Myers — for their roles in the attack.

Hays never responded to the lawsuit despite being served while he was in prison on a civil rights violation, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. A judge issued a default judgment in favor of Hall in February and heard testimony Monday about why Hall should receive damages.

Hall's claims against Boone and Myers are still pending.

Hall, in court on Monday, talked about the severe physical and emotional damages that followed the beating. He suffered several herniated discs and a jaw injury that left him unable to eat. He developed gallstones with complications, requiring surgeries.

“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,” Circuit Judge Joseph Whyte said.

Hays was not at the hearing. He was sentenced to more than four years in prison in 2021 and is in the custody of the St. Louis Residential Reentry Management Office, which supervises people who have been released from prison and are serving time on home confinement or in halfway houses. He has one year to contest the judgment.

The attack happened on Sept. 17, 2017, days after Stockley was acquitted in the fatal shooting of 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith on Dec. 20, 2011. Hall was walking back toward police headquarters when his uniformed colleagues ordered him to put up his hands and get on the ground, then beat him.

Hays, Boone, Myers and another officer, Bailey Colletta, were indicted in 2018 in connection with Hall’s injuries. A fifth officer, Steven Korte, was indicted on a civil rights charge and another count of lying to the FBI.

Boone was convicted of a civil rights charge and sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison. Meyers received probation after pleading guilty to a single felony charge. Colletta received probation for lying to the FBI and a grand jury about the attack. Korte was acquitted.

In addition to the settlement with Hall, the city of St. Louis last year paid nearly $5.2 million over allegations that police violated the rights of dozens of people by capturing them in a police “kettle” and arresting them. Some said they were beaten, pepper-sprayed and attacked with stun guns in various downtown protests after the Stockley verdict.