Federal Jury Lets White Saint Louis Police Officers off the Hook for Beating of Black Undercover Officer During 2017 Protest

Saint Louis Metropolitan Police Department Detective Luther Hall in photo taken after his beating on September 17, 2017. Image Saint Louis Post Dispatch.

Comrade Toussaint

SAINT LOUIS: An initially all white federal jury cleared three current and former white Saint Louis police officers for the brutal beating of their Black undercover colleague, Luther Hall, during a 2017 police riot on the corner of 14th and Olive in Downtown Saint Louis. On Monday, Officers Steven Korte (still employed by STLMPD) and Christopher Myers were acquitted of the charge of deprivation of civil rights under the color of law. Kort was also acquitted of lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Officer Dustin Boone’s charge met a hung jury, and Myers’ destruction of property charge (he smashed Hall’s cell phone) was hung as well. Essentially, all are free to go, for now. 

Det. Luther Hall was awarded a $5 million dollar settlement by the City of Saint Louis in February of this year. He bears no remorse for his career working as an agent provocateur and police agent during the uprising against Judge Timothy Wilson’s “not guilty” ruling in 2017 for former STLMPD officer Jason Stockley. Stockley chased and murdered Anthony Lamar Smith, a 24 year old Black man, on December 20, 2011. The not guilty ruling triggered a wave of protests that immediately took on a protracted and militant character, as is the Saint Louis tradition begun by the 2014 uprising. Luther Hall willingly stood opposed to the masses of people and worked undercover seeking to entrap or incite activists and bring about their easy arrest and conviction on behalf of the forces of the fascist state. The same night that Hall was beaten, September 17, 2017, there was a brutal, illegal kettling arrest at the intersection of Washington and Tucker downtown that resulted in 350 STLMPD officers being named in a class action lawsuit for illegal arrests. They maced individuals who had nothing to do with the protest, smashed cameras, brutalized journalists, and taunted protesters by repeating the “Whose Streets? Our Streets!” chant. 

Hall, in the midst of being beaten, said that he did not identify himself as a police officer because he wanted to maintain his cover and continue to spy for his settler bosses. The fact that, for all his police work, his white colleagues still saw a Black man who was present and isolated at a protest and proceeded to beat him brutally and mercilessly, and he still remained loyal to this system in the midst of this horrible beating, demonstrates the mindset of both settler pigs, and this traitor to his class and his New Afrikan oppressed nation. Hall was treated as the settler ruling class has historically always treated its running dogs. You are used against your people, and then discarded like dirty laundry. The STLMPD is a segregated formation, with Black police being relegated to the heavily Black areas North of Delmar. Black police within the STLMPD also recount incidents of racist notes, emails, and texts sent by white officers. This is not the first time that white police in Saint Louis have attacked and brutalized Black police. In 2019, Milton Green, a community liaison officer, was shot in the forearm by a white colleague, Christopher Tanner, in his own driveway, while holding out his badge. There are also separate police unions. The Ethical Society of Police represents Black and nonwhite officers, while the Saint Louis Police Officers Association represents whites. Jeff Roorda, a widely renowned reactionary pig of the highest degree, refused to speak publicly on the beating of Hall or other incidents where Black police are attacked by settler police, despite being vocal in running his loud mouth about the supposed high rates of violence that (settler) police in Saint Louis suffer. The ESOP released a report in 2020 detailing this and other racial contradictions within the STLMPD.

The fact that the United States is a prisonhouse of nations, built on stolen land with stolen labor, is the principal contradiction, the contradiction that, throughout American history, has influenced and shaped all others. The New Afrikan nation is an oppressed nation, imported wholesale from Africa to lay the economic foundation of this country through forced labor on land stolen from our Indigenous siblings. This principal contradiction, the national/racial one, has manifested itself here in Saint Louis within the ranks of the armed wing of the ruling class, its police force, through high profile acts of violence like this. Black police, by choosing to willfully become running dogs for the white capitalist ruling class, show their own lack of class and national consciousness. Throughout history, certain backwards individuals and strata of our people both in Africa and in the diaspora have become sellouts and active counterrevolutionaries, either through some liberal desire to “change the system from the inside”, or outright for pay. Even though they form groups like the Ethical Society of Police which may expose the most egregious racism in their departments, they still uphold, with force of arms and power to arrest and punish, the system that is responsible for the abuse that they personally face from their white peers in the first place. Luther Hall exposes his atrocious treatment at the hands of his fellow pigs simply because of the fact that he is a Black man, yet wants to continue being an active enemy of the revolutionary movement of Black people.

This is even more egregious in light of the fact that Hall participated in a similar incident against a suspect some years ago. When you lay down with and work with dogs, or, even worse, become a dog yourself, you will get bitten by many fleas. The best thing that a Black cop can do if he does not want to be abused by settlers on the force is to quit and apologize to the masses of Black people for becoming one in the first place. We should be aware of the continuing presence of those like Luther Hall who take advantage of their national oppression to infiltrate our movements and demonstrations to look for easy cases. Those among us who, motivated by love of the people and our communities, yet who erroneously think that they can do good for us in the ranks of the settler police force, should abandon this anti-people dream and form self defense and patrol groups among the ranks of the most oppressed people to keep dangerous, racist, violent settler cops and other bad elements out of our neighborhoods, while also bringing our badly torn communities together outside of the color of the fascist police force. We do not need the cops in our neighborhoods, Black or white. We need revolution, and people’s justice derived from armed and organized detachments of the people. There is an anecdote from the Philippines about a visiting American activist who is asked by a peasant if there is an NPA in the United States. The American answers no. The Filipino then asks, “who do you call when the police kill?” Food for thought.

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