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A Black police officer was undercover with a white colleague during a protest in 2017 when they were both arrested by their unknowing co-workers. The white officer walked away unharmed—but the Black officer had his phone smashed, was beaten, and suffered permanent neck injuries.
Dustin Boone, a former cop with the St. Louis Police Department, was found guilty Thursday of depriving his injured fellow officer, Detective Luther Hall, of his civil rights. The deprivation of rights under color of law is a felony civil rights charge and could put the ex-cop behind bars for up to 10 years.
Two former cops with the department, Randy Hays and Bailey Colletta, both also pleaded guilty to the beating earlier this year, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
On September 17, 2017, Detective Hall was working undercover during a protest for Anthony Lamar Smith, a Black man who was shot five times by cops in 2011. Hall, who was dressed in plainclothes, was mistaken for a protester by his fellow policemen.
The cop was documenting the protest with a camera, and that’s when he was detained and beaten, had his phone destroyed, and was finally arrested by fellow members of the St. Louis police department. Hall immediately underwent multiple surgeries following the attack by his co-workers and still suffers from permanent neck damage.
During the trial, Hall testified that he didn’t identify himself to Boone and the other officers because he didn’t want to out himself to the protesters.
According to court documents, Boone had attached his cellphone to his uniform and called his then-girlfriend on FaceTime to watch his arrests during the protest where he assaulted Hall, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Boone also has a history of violence against protesters and racism—in 2017 he allegedly slapped a case suspect in the face and sent officers texts joking about it, saying the suspect “got his eyes widened with a little slap from a white boy. lol.”
Texts also allegedly included racist language, like the n-word, according to police reports.
Earlier this year, Hall was given $5 million in a settlement against police. Boone's sentence is expected in early July.
Boone was tried with another officer who participated in the incident, Christopher Myers, and allegedly smashed Hall’s phone with a baton and took the memory card out of his camera, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. But the jury was unable to reach a verdict on his charges.
Myers was tried twice in the case, and it's unlikely he will be tried again, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.