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Ex-St. Louis police officer gets probation for lying to FBI, grand jury in colleague's beating

Ex-St. Louis police officer gets probation for lying to FBI, grand jury in colleague's beating

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ST. LOUIS — A former St. Louis police officer who admitted lying to the FBI and a grand jury about the beating of an undercover colleague during a 2017 protest was sentenced Thursday to probation.

U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber sentenced Bailey Colletta, 28, to three years of probation that includes two consecutive weekends in jail, 200 hours of community service, drug testing and counseling. Colletta pleaded guilty in 2019 to making a false declaration to a grand jury.

Colletta is the second of three officers to be sentenced for their roles related to the attack on undercover Detective Luther Hall.

John Kilo, lawyer for former St. Louis police officer Bailey Colletta, speaks with reporters after Colletta's sentence on July 15, 2021.

”Sir, I’m so sorry this happened to you,” a tearful Colletta told Hall in court Thursday. “I never wanted anyone to go through the pain that I have caused, and I am very sorry.”

Hall nodded slowly as Colletta spoke. His lawyer declined comment after the hearing, although First Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie Costantin read a statement from Hall in court saying he feels as though his years of service “meant nothing” to the police department, and that he still suffers from depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress.

Before sentencing Colletta, Webber told Hall he thinks there is no one with a better opportunity to help reform the St. Louis police department.

”The things I have read in those police reports — the statements that officers made at the scene, graphic, racial, hateful statements — and I just hope there’s someone in the police department that has enough good judgment to reach out to you and use your experience as a way of making substantial reforms. Because they’re long overdue.”

Federal prosecutors asked that Colletta spend two years in prison, even though she could have gotten more than four years based on federal sentencing guidelines.

Hall was attacked while monitoring a protest Sept. 17, 2017, following the acquittal of former St. Louis police Officer Jason Stockley in the shooting death of a Black man years earlier.

Prosecutors said Colletta ordered Hall to the ground and watched as other officers tackled Hall but told FBI agents and the grand jury that Hall was brought to the ground gently, federal authorities say. Hall at the time was working undercover documenting protest activity.

On the night Hall was arrested, Colletta was 24 years old and had been out of the police academy five months. She had been in a relationship with supervising officer and co-defendant Randy Hays, a white former officer sentenced Tuesday to four years and three months in prison for beating Hall, who is Black, with a baton and shoving him to the ground. Hays pleaded guilty in 2019 to committing deprivation of rights under the color of law.

On Thursday, Colletta’s lawyer John Kilo asked the judge for probation, arguing that Colletta’s involvement in the attack was “minimal” and that she never touched Hall. Colletta’s relationship with Hays, he said, “clouded and distorted her testimony.”

”No question that (Colletta’s) testimony was not accurate or true,” Kilo said in court. “Her judgment no doubt was clouded by the overriding influence that he, Randy Hays, had over her.”

Colletta cried as the judge delivered her sentence, then hugged her parents, who were in the courtroom.

After the hearing, Kilo said Colletta learned from her mistakes “that you better weigh your words and know the consequences of what you say because they could be terrible.”

Former St. Louis Officer Dustin Boone was convicted last month of deprivation of rights under the color of law for his role in the attack. He hasn’t yet been sentenced.

Another former officer, Christopher Myers, has a pending charge of destroying evidence from the scene. It is unclear whether prosecutors will try him a third time after two juries this year could not decide whether he tried to destroy Hall’s cellphone to impede the assault investigation.

Jurors in March acquitted a fourth officer, Steven Korte, of a civil rights charge in Hall’s beating.

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