St. Louis Police Accused of Unknowingly Beating Undercover Officer During Black Protests

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Three St. Louis police officers were indicted Thursday for allegedly beating an undercover colleague during 2017 protest and, along with a fourth officer, conspiring to cover up the crime.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced the indictments of Officers Dustin Boone, Randy Hays, Christopher Myers and Bailey Colletta. All four are suspended without pay, the city said. The indictment follows an FBI investigation requested last year by St. Louis police.

The September 2015 acquittal of former police officer Jason Stockley set off weeks of protests. Stockley, who is white, was found not guilty in the 2011 death of a black suspect, Anthony Lamar Smith.

The indictment alleges that Boone, Hays and Myers beat the undercover agent during a protest on Sept. 17, 2017, and that the three along with Colletta covered it up.

“These are serious charges and the vigorous enforcement of civil rights is essential to maintaining public trust in law enforcement,” U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen said in a statement, adding that the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department “recognized the importance of this investigation and its leadership has cooperated at every turn.”

St. Louis Police Officers Association business manager Jeff Roorda said all four officers are members of the association, but he declined further comment.

St. Louis Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards said the police department is filled with officers who do “exceptional work,” but those who violate the law must be held accountable.

“In a few instances, some officers have fallen short of the professionalism required to work in our Police Department,” Edwards said in a statement.

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