The City of St. Louis will pay $5 million to Luther Hall, a Black policeman who was beaten by fellow officers while working an undercover job during the Jason Stockley protests in 2017.
KMOV4 reports that Hall was assigned to work within a crowd of protesters following the acquittal of St. Louis Police Officer Jason Stockley.
Stockley had been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting of Anthony Lamar Smith. Stockley and his partner say they attempted to stop Smith after witnessing him conclude a drug deal. However, Smith rammed his car into the officers’, then took off down the road.
Stockley was heard on camera saying that he was “going to kill” Smith once he caught him—and did just that, firing a half-dozen rounds into Smith’s car. He later claimed that he had seen Smith reaching for a gun.
When Stockley was eventually acquitted, St. Louis residents protested the verdict.
Hall was assigned to monitor the Stockley protests from amidst the crowds. But he was mistaken for an actual protester by his fellow officers, who attacked and beat him.
According to Hall’s lawsuit, text communications obtained from other cops show that officers were enthusiastically preparing to use unnecessary force against the protesters.
“Let’s whoop some ass,” Officer Christopher Myers wrote, adding that “The bosses are being a little more lenient with the use of force by us.”
“The more the merrier!!!” Officer Dustin Boone replied. “It’s going to be fun beating the hell out of these sheads once the sun goes down and nobody can tell us apart … Just fpeople up when they don’t act right!”
Hall says that he was confronted by several officers the night of the protest—he raised his hands in surrender, but was nonetheless pummeled to the ground.
Hall suffered severe injuries, including multiple herniated discs, a hip injury, and other blows to his jaw, lips, and eyes. His injuries prevented him from being able to resume his work as a police officer; Hall reportedly struggled to eat normal, solid meals, too.
However, Hall is still reportedly employed by the police department in a non-patrol position.
Nevertheless, Hall’s lawsuit against the city maintained that the officers who beat him were largely spared punishment. One of the accused, Joseph Marcantano, was later promoted to sergeant.
In his complaint, Hall stated that “misconduct is not only protected but rewarded by the City and Department.”
He says that several St. Louis police officers, including higher-ranking officials, actively tried to cover up his beating and suppress evidence of the assault.
His lawsuit also alleges that the mayor of St. Louis made a dismissive comment to Hall in an elevator, lamenting that the officer had hurt his “cute face.”
The Root reports that numerous other protesters sued the city over the police department’s response to the Stockley protests.