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Jury convicts former St. Louis cop for role in colleague's beating, undecided on another

Jury convicts former St. Louis cop for role in colleague's beating, undecided on another

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ST. LOUIS — Jurors on Thursday found one former St. Louis police officer guilty for his role in the beating of an undercover colleague in 2017 but were unable to decide on a related charge against another former officer.

Dustin Boone was found guilty of deprivation of rights under color of law — a felony civil rights charge — for aiding and abetting others who beat Detective Luther Hall.

Jurors said they could not decide on a charge of destruction of evidence against Christopher Myers, accused of trying to destroy Hall’s cellphone to impede any investigation of an assault.

Outside the courthouse, First Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie Costantin said a decision on retrying Myers could take several weeks, and will involve talking to Hall.

Lawyer Scott Rosenblum and First Assistant US Attorney Carrie Constantin discuss the results of the trial for the former police officers accused of beating an undercover colleague in 2017, outside of the Thomas Eagleton U.S. Courthouse in St. Louis on Thursday, June 17, 2021. The jury was hung on Rosenblum’s client Christopher Myers. The other former officer, Dustin Boone, was found guilty of deprivation of rights under color of law — a felony civil rights charge — for aiding and abetting others who beat Detective Luther Hall. Video by Colter Peterson, cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

Asked about Hall’s response to the verdict, Costantin said, “He is still absorbing it. It’s very difficult, what he’s gone through.”

She said Hall was experiencing both physical pain and pain “because he feels he was betrayed by fellow officers.”

“For those of us in law enforcement, it’s gratifying that we can take a bad cop off the streets,” Costantin said.

Boone could face up to 10 years in prison at his sentencing, which will likely be in about three months, she said.

Boone’s lawyer, Patrick Kilgore, declined to comment.

This was the second time prosecutors have tried the case and Myers’ lawyer, Scott Rosenblum, said, “I’d be surprised if they’re going to require Chris to go through yet a third trial.”

Citing the single conviction of one defendant in two trials, Rosenblum said, “I would say it’s time to quit.”

The jury said several hours before the partial verdict that it was unable to decide on the charge against either man. U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber told them to keep trying.

Jurors declined to comment as they left the courthouse at the end of the day.

A different jury in March was unable to reach a verdict on the charges. Jurors did acquit Myers of the civil rights charge and found officer Steven Korte not guilty of the same charge as well as a charge of lying to the FBI.

On Sept. 17, 2017, Hall was working undercover during a night of protests against police violence that followed the acquittal of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley on a murder charge.

Hall encountered officers including Boone, Myers, Korte, Randy Hays and Bailey Colletta downtown, on the corner of 14th and Olive streets, after a protest ended and a smaller crowd roamed along downtown streets, with some breaking windows or doing other damage.

Costantin told jurors in her closing statements Tuesday that Hall was committing no crime and there was no probable cause to arrest him. Boone targeted Hall because he mistook him for a protester, she said. Boone had a history of sending racist texts and celebrated the use of violence against protesters and others, she said, citing examples of those texts.

Hall is Black. Boone, Myers, Korte, Hays and Colletta are white.

Myers was captured in Hall’s cellphone video standing over him shortly before Myers used a collapsible baton to try and destroy Hall’s phone, she said. Myers also took the battery out of Hall’s camera, mistaking it for a memory card, she said.

Hall did not identify himself to colleagues, he told jurors, because he did not want others to overhear, thus making it impossible for him to keep going undercover among protesters.

Kilgore, Boone’s lawyer, said during the trial that the texts about violence were taken out of context, but offered no excuse for the racist texts. He said Boone was not near the attack on Hall, and only later helped other officers in what he thought was a lawful arrest.

Although a portion of the arrest was caught in photos and on video, defense attorney Rosenblum said Costantin was speculating about what happened the rest of the time. He said Hays damaged the phone when Myers was elsewhere, and he said a flawed investigation forced Hays and other officers to lie about what happened to comport with prosecutors’ version of events.

Hall settled a civil lawsuit against police for $5 million earlier this year. He was left permanently injured by the attack, with damage to discs in his neck as well as other injuries.

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Related to this story

The "hammer instruction," formally known as an Allen Charge, encourages jurors to keep trying to reach a verdict.

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