A federal grand jury in St. Louis indicted four city police officers Thursday on charges that three of them beat an undercover police officer last year and all four of them covered it up, the Justice Department said.
St. Louis Metropolitan Police Officers Dustin Boone, 35, Randy Hays, 31, and Christopher Myers, 27, slammed the undercover officer — a 22-year police veteran — to the ground, kicked him and beat him with a police baton, federal prosecutors said.
A fourth officer, Bailey Colleta, 25, is accused of lying to a federal grand jury investigating the incident.
The alleged attack occurred on Sept. 17, 2017, amid the chaos in downtown St. Louis following the acquittal of former police Officer Jason Stockley, who was accused of first-degree murder related to the shooting death of a civilian.
The victim, identified only by the initials “L.H.,” was working undercover to record and document criminal activity so that the St. Louis police could arrest individuals who were committing crimes. He “was compliant and not posing a physical threat to anyone,” according to court papers.
The three officers accused of beating the officer face charges of willfully violating L.H.’s constitutional rights. Mr. Myers faces a destruction of evidence charge for destroying L.H.’s cellphone in an effort to frustrate the investigation. and Officer Colleta, 25, faces charges of attempting to obstruct grand jury proceedings.
If convicted, all four could face up to 20 years in prison.
“These are serious charges and the vigorous enforcement of civil rights is essential to maintaining public trust in law enforcement,” said U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen. “The St. Louis Metropolitan Police recognized the importance of this investigation and its leadership has cooperated at every turn.”