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A former Missouri police officer has been sentenced to four years in federal prison for his role in the beating of his Black colleague who was working undercover as a protester.
Randy Hays, 34, pleaded guilty in 2019 to a felony count of deprivation of civil rights under the color of law for his role in the 2017 assault of Luther Hall, KSDK in St. Louis reports. The former St. Louis police officer, who is white, mistakenly thought Hall was a protestor when he and four other white officers allegedly attacked him.
Hall, a 22-year veteran of the department was working the St. Louis protest to monitor criminal activity after Jason Stockley, a white St. Louis police officer, was acquitted of shooting a Black man, the Associated Press reports. He was wearing plain clothes and carrying a camera when he was attacked; the violence ensued after this fellow officers tried to arrest him after a dispersal order was given.
Hays has admitted to beating Hall with a baton and shoving him to the ground, according to KSDK.
In a statement written by Hall and read to the court by a prosecutor, Hall said that since the incident “my outlook on life, people, and this thing we call the Culture of Policing has forever been changed,” KSDK reports.
He said he had become withdrawn and now suffers from anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. He detailed how he lays in the dark many nights reliving the events of his brutal assault.
“On September 17, 2017, my career ended, and a long journey of pain, stress, heartbreak, betrayal, and mistrust began,” he stated. “I also learned that my 22 years of dedicated service meant nothing to the SLMPD and the SLPOA except to falsify documents and reports, release false information to the media and diligently work to get out ahead of this.”
Hays' attorney, meanwhile, said that his client was also suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder by being present during a fatal officer-involved shooting in 2016.
Hays was one of four former officers indicted in Hall’s beating. Former officer Bailey Colletta has pleaded guilty to making false statements to a grand jury about the incident, according to the Associated Press. She is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday. Christopher Myers was charged with destruction of evidence related to the arrest but his trial ended in a hung jury in March. A jury acquitted Steven Korte of deprivation of rights under color of law and of lying to the FBI in March, the Associated Press reported. Dustin Boone was found guilty in June of aiding and abetting the deprivation of the victim’s civil rights and he is scheduled to be sentenced in September.
Hays testified against Boone, Myers and Korte, during that trial in March, claiming that Boone kept his knee on Hall’s shoulder while Korte kicked him in the side of the face.
"I am greatly sorry for the impact my actions caused (Hall) and his family," Hays said in court on Thursday. "I am a good person, but I made a mistake."
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