Former St. Louis officer sentenced to prison in beating of undercover Black colleague at protest

Former St. Louis officer sentenced to prison in beating of undercover Black colleague at protest
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A former St.Louis police officer was sentenced to four years in prison in Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to beating an undercover Black colleague at a protest, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.

During the sentencing hearing on Tuesday, Randy Hays told the judge that he’s "greatly sorry” for his actions toward his former colleague, referring to himself as a “good person” who made a mistake. 

“I am a good person, but I made a mistake,” Hays told the judge. 

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Hays pleaded guilty in 2019 to using excessive and unreasonable force stemming from a 2017 incident where Hays and three of his colleagues, all of whom were white, beat a Black officer, Luther Hall, who was working undercover, during an arrest.

According to court documents, Hall, along with another officer, was following a group of protesters who were destroying buildings in response to the acquittal of a white officer who killed a Black man.

When officers ordered Hall to lay on the ground, he was then picked up by one of his colleagues and slammed to the ground, where Hays and the other officers continued to beat Hall with their batons. 

Hall sustained herniated disc injuries, a torn rotator cuff and a gash above his lips that required medical treatment, the Post reported. 

In a written statement obtained by St.Louis NBC affiliate KSDK, Hall shared that he felt helpless that night, referring to days where can’t sleep and recounting nightmares that he had stemming from the account. 

“The days I can’t sleep, I lay in bed in the dark and all I hear is the sound of my camera impacting the ground and voices of people yelling commands at me,” Hall said in his statement. 

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Hall also shared with the court that he was diagnosed with depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, adding he takes medication daily due to the incident, KSDK reported. 

This comes as protests of police brutality and social injustice have been more prevalent in the past year. 

Hays is just the first of the officers involved in the arrest of Hall to be tried and sentenced. Another ex-officer is set to be sentenced Thursday, the Post reported.