Four St. Louis Police Officers Indicted For Misconduct During 2017 Protests
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Felony charges have been brought against four St. Louis, Mo., police officers this week due to their actions during a crackdown on a 2017 protest. A federal grand jury indicted St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers Dustin Boone, 35, Bailey Colletta, 25, Randy Hays, 31, and Christopher Myers, 27, over claims that three of them beat an undercover colleague during protests last year and all four then covered it up, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The charges include deprivation of constitutional rights, conspiracy to obstruct justice, destruction of evidence, and obstruction of justice. The four officers were all members of St. Louis Police Department’s Civil Disobedience Team. The aforementioned protest was in response to the acquittal of former police Officer Jason Stockley on a murder charge for the fatal shooting of Anthony Lamar Smith. The four officers believed the undercover officer was a protester and assaulted him “while he was compliant and not posing a physical threat to anyone,” the indictment says. They later lied about the amount of force used against the undercover officer, who was a 22-year veteran in the force. The indictment also claims that the officers exchanged messages that “expressed disdain” for protesters and “excitement about using unjustified force against them and going undetected while doing so,” the Huffington Post reports. In a series of text messages, they joked and planned about force they would use against the protestors. “Let’s whoop some ass,” said Myers, for example. “It’s gonna be a lot of fun beating the hell out of these shitheads once the sun goes down and nobody can tell us apart,” wrote Boone in response. “We really need these fuckers to start acting up so we can have some fun.” In a statement, Police Chief John Hayden said his department sought the FBI’s help after learning about the allegations of misconduct. “I am deeply disappointed in the alleged actions of these individual officers; however, it is in no way reflective of the hard work and dedication exhibited by the men and women of our Department who serve the community on a daily basis with integrity and honor,” his statement says. The four officers could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.