St. Louis, MO – One of the St. Louis police officers accused of attempting to cover up the assault of an undercover detective during a protest in 2017 has pleaded guilty to the federal charges against her.
Now-former St. Louis Metropolitan Police Officer Bailey Colletta, 26, admitted that she lied to a federal grand jury and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about the attack, and agreed to relinquish her law enforcement certification during her change of plea hearing on Sept. 6, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
She has not yet been sentenced, and faces between 30 months and 57 months in prison.
According to prosecutors, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Officers Dustin Boone, Randy Hayes, Christopher Myers, and Colletta were among 200 members of the St. Louis police force who were assigned to the “Civil Disobedience Team,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
On Sep. 17, 2017, they were working crowd control following the trial of former St. Louis Police Officer Jason Stockley, who was acquitted for the on-duty shooting death of drug dealer Anthony Lamar Smith.
The verdict led to nights of rioting.
“It’s gonna be a lot of fun beating the hell out of these [expletive] once the sun goes down and nobody can tell us apart!!!!” Officer Boone wrote in a text message, according to the indictment.
Prosecutors said that Officers Boone, 35, Hayes, 31, and Myers, 27, mistakenly believed undercover St. Louis Police Detective Luther Hall was a protester, so they assaulted him “while he was compliant and not posing a physical threat to anyone.”
During her change of plea hearing on Sept. 6, Colletta admitted that there was “very little protest activity” when they encountered undercover Det. Hall near the intersection of Olive Street and 14th Street, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
She said that Det. Hall was complying with her orders to get onto his knees when the other three officers tackled him to the ground.
Colletta admitted that the detective they believed was a protester was not committing any crime and that he did not do anything to justify the use of force doled out by the officers, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Det. Hall, a 22-year veteran-of-the-force, was viciously kicked and beaten with a baton, causing injuries to his lip and jaw, according to the original indictment.
He also suffered multiple herniated discs as a result of the attack, and his jaw injuries have made it difficult for him to eat.
Det. Hall has not returned to work since the 2017 assault.
After they learned that the person they attacked and arrested was an undercover detective, the three officers attempted to cover up the incident by claiming Det. Hall was non-compliant and resisted arrest, prosecutors said.
The three officers then attempted to contact Det. Hall in an effort to convince him not to pursue legal or disciplinary action against them.
Officer Myers has also been accused of destroying Det. Hall’s phone in order to obstruct the investigation.
Officer Colletta, who was in a romantic relationship with Officer Hayes at the time of the assault, initially told investigators that she did not know Det. Hall and that she never saw him on the night of his arrest, according to the indictment.
She also lied to investigators by claiming that the undercover detective was “brought to the ground very gently,” and presented the grand jury with “misleading and inconsistent explanations” regarding the supposed “textbook arrest,” the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported.
Officer Colletta had been with the department for just 18 months at the time of the indictment.
She faces a minimum of 30 to 37 months in prison for making false statements before a grand jury, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Prosecutors argued that the former officer was not a “minor participant” in the attack like her attorneys claimed, and said she should serve between 46 to 57 months in prison for her role.
Her sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 13.
The other three officers have denied guilt, and are scheduled to go to trial on Dec. 2.