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Thursday, December 12, 2019

St. Louis Cop Steve Korte Indicted in Beating of Undercover Police Officer

Posted By on Thu, Dec 12, 2019 at 6:27 PM

click to enlarge St. Louis police Officer Steve Korte lied to the FBI, prosecutors say. - DOYLE MURPHY
  • St. Louis police Officer Steve Korte lied to the FBI, prosecutors say.

A fifth St. Louis police officer has been indicted on federal charges connected to the September 2017 beating of an undercover cop who was posing as a protester.

Officer Steve Korte, 42, was charged today with civil rights violations and providing false statements to the FBI. The city cop, who was hired in 2011, was part of a team of officers accused of attacking Detective Luther Hall during the protests that following the acquittal of an ex-officer on a murder charge.

The police department declined to comment on Korte, other than to say he has been placed on administrative leave without pay.

Hall suffered severe injuries when riot police slammed him to the ground, kicking and clubbing him. One officer, Christopher Myers, is accused of breaking the camera Hall was using to document the protests and smashing his cell phone with a baton.

Myers was indicted in November 2018 along with officers Dustin Boone, Randy Hays and Bailey Colletta. Hays and Colletta have already pleaded guilty — Hays to deprivation of constitutional rights and Colletta to making false statements to a grand jury — and are scheduled to be sentenced in the spring.

Myers and Boone have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial.

Korte was added to the indictment today, but his name has been associated with the case for some time. Hall named him as a defendant in a civil suit he filed in September against the city. Other defendants in that suit include police Lt. Col. Lawrence O'Toole, Mayor Lyda Krewson, Boone, Hays, Myers, Colletta and another officer who has not been indicted — Joseph Marcantano.

In the civil suit, Hall says he put up his hands when approached by officers and was thrown face first into the ground, picked up and slammed into the ground again before officers pummeled him. He has undergone multiple surgeries following the beating and has not returned to work.

The violent arrest happened on the third night of protests after white ex-cop Jason Stockley was found not guilty of murder for killing Anthony Lamar Smith, a black man police accused of selling drugs.

More than twenty people have sued the city for its response to demonstrations, alleging police attacked and illegally arrested them during the long-running protests. Many of the allegations are strikingly similar to what Hall says happened to him, including officers smashing cameras to cover their violence. So far, no officers have been charged in any of those incidents.

Korte is also a defendant in other federal lawsuits, including one alleging he helped illegally arrest a man who laughed at then-candidate Donald Trump during campaign rally in 2016 at what is now Stifel Theatre.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional information and to reflect that an officer previously named in Hall's lawsuit has been dismissed from that suit.

Police mass downtown on September 17, 2017, the night Detective Luther Hall was beaten and arrested while undercover. - THEO WELLING
  • Police mass downtown on September 17, 2017, the night Detective Luther Hall was beaten and arrested while undercover.

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