Louis police officers were indicted in connection with the beating of an undercover officer during violent protests in the Missouri city last year after a white former officer was acquitted in the shooting death of a black man.
The Department of Justice announced the indictments in a statement Thursday.
“The indictment charges Officers Dustin Boone, 35, Bailey Colletta, 25, Randy Hays, 31, and Christopher Myers, 27, with various felony charges, including deprivation of constitutional rights, conspiracy to obstruct justice, destruction of evidence, and obstruction of justice.”
According to the indictment, officers Boone, Hays and Myers inflicted “bodily injury” on an undercover officer identified in the court document only as “L.H.”, an officer and detective who is described as having 22 years of experience with the police department. The beating of L.H. occurred “while he was compliant and not posing a threat to anyone.” The incident occurred during a September 17, 2017, protest against the acquittal of a white police officer who was tried in the death of a black suspect in 2011.
The indictment includes what appears to be text messages among three officers before the protests in which they talk about their plans to beat protesters.
The fourth officer, Bailey Colleta, is accused of aiding in a cover-up by lying to the grand jury investigating the incident. Colleta and Hays were romantically involved at the time of the protests and during the federal investigation, according to the indictment.
During the protest, Boone, Hays and Myers allegedly kicked and used a riot baton on the undercover agent who they believed was a protester, according to a U.S. Department of Justice.
The victim, identified only as “L.H.,” was a 22-year veteran of the department tasked with documenting any criminal activity during the protests and was “not posing a physical threat to anyone,” according to prosecutors.
All four officers were suspended without pay, according to city officials cited by the Associated Press. Each of the officers faces potential maximum penalties of at least 20 years in prison.