Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Ex-St. Louis Cop Wants Prosecutors Sanctioned for Revealing Racist Texts

Posted By on Mon, May 10, 2021 at 1:51 PM

click to enlarge Ex-St. Louis police Officer Dustin Boone is fighting to hide his texts from the public. - DOYLE MURPHY
  • Ex-St. Louis police Officer Dustin Boone is fighting to hide his texts from the public.

A former St. Louis cop facing a criminal charge in the beating of a Black undercover detective has asked a judge to sanction federal prosecutors for disclosing text messages in which he uses the N-word freely, brags about sending people to the hospital and talks at length with other cops about prescription drug use.

Prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's Office had previously released a number of texts sent and received by ex-police officer Dustin Boone and other cops accused of assaulting St. Louis police Det. Luther Hall in 2017 after mistaking him for a protester — but these messages had not been publicly disclosed in previous filings, and they expand beyond the Hall case.

Prosecutors say the texts and other information described in their recent filing show Boone was biased against Black people and that he had no problem violating his oath as a cop and the rights of those he encountered on the streets.

"There are r n——— running wild all across the city and even if/when we catch them..... they don't get in any trouble because there are plate lips running the CAO!" Boone wrote in a group text to other officers in July 2017, two months before the assault on Hall.

CAO is apparently a reference to the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office, which is under the supervision of the city's first Black circuit attorney, Kim Gardner.

See Also: Here's How FBI Agents Outsmarted the St. Louis Cops Charged in Beating

Boone was one of five officers who were indicted in relation to the September 2017 attack on Hall. He was assigned to the Civil Disobedience Team, better known as the riot police, that cracked down on protesters following the acquittal of ex-officer Jason Stockley in the killing of Anthony Lamar Smith. Hall later told investigators that his fellow officers beat him "like Rodney King," even though he wasn't resisting and posed no threat.

Two officers pleaded guilty, but Boone, ex-officer Christopher Myers and current officer Steve Korte went to trial this spring. None were found guilty, but jurors deadlocked on a charge against Boone. They acquitted Myers on one charge in the beating, but couldn't decide whether he was guilty of smashing Hall's phone to destroy a recording of the assault.

Boone and Myers are set for another trial in June, and as prosecutors prepare for Round Two they filed a 33-page memo that outlines new evidence they plan to use this time. (See the second page of this story for the redacted memo.) Large sections of the filing have been blacked out, but the parts that haven't detail a trove of previously unreleased text messages attributed to Boone and others, including other cops.

Boone's attorney, Patrick Kilgore, argues in a court filing that the now-public information is "inflammatory, irrelevant, and highly prejudicial" and disclosing them violates a judge's order to file much of the information under seal. He notes that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote about the texts and other information from the prosecutors' filing and claims it could taint the jury pool and keep Boone from receiving a fair trial. Additionally, Kilgore writes that the memo includes the names of Boone's relatives and police officers who haven't been charged. A spokeswoman for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police said the department would have no comment on any investigations or disciplinary action against any of the officers in Boone's texts.

In the memo, prosecutors say that the texts, many of which describe incidents separate from the protest where Hall was beaten, show a pattern of wrongdoing.

In April 2017, texts show Boone gloating about a violent confrontation with an unnamed person.

"Ooooohhh!!! Took a head shot w the taser!!!," Boone writes in a group text with members of his family. "Hahahahhaa Santa and I just smoked 2 dudes."

Santa is apparently a reference to now-former St. Louis police officer Kyle Santa, another texting partner of Boone's.

A few hours later, Boone sent a group text to multiple St. Louis cops: Timothy Strain, Christopher Narez, Marcus Biggins, Shawn Griggs and Matthew McInerny. All of those officers are still on the force, except for McInerny, whose time with the department ended in 2021.

"Dude caught a tampering 1st, resisting stealing of a motor vehicle out of the county and a TASER to the fuckin dome?" he writes, adding, "Caught him in some THICK over grow in a side vacant lot, there was nobody around except me. Shaw, shithead and god... he is at the hospital now... poor guy."

Griggs, who is still a city cop, wrote back: "Thats fuckin hilarious! Strong work!"

That thread continues with more details from Boone:

"Hahaha we made him tell the other officers on scene that he is a pussy! Hahaha he was puking on himself while EMS was looking at him and saying 'I'm a pussy, in a pussy." And crying...... it was the greatest moment of my short career! Lol."

Boone adds in a text message to two other men that the person was "puking and seizing."

Prosecutors' cache of text messages and other evidence cuts across a wide swath of activities that they say show Boone's rampant misconduct. There was a message in December 2017 to Myers about taking money: "I don't know if sarge is cool w taking any of that cash. I grabbed the 20s for us but I don't know how he will Be about it??"

And Boone's reply when now-former St. Louis police officer William "Beau" Wethington wrote he hoped Boone "beat that kids ass" in a March 2018 message.

"We didn't take him to children's for nothin! Lol," Boone responded, adding, "There r so many damn RTCC cameras in the fifth now, I had to literally drag him behind a privacy fence to avoid one. Can't believe how inconvenient they have made things!"

And then there were the texts and FaceTime videos with his then-girlfriend Ashley Marie Ditto. Prosecutors say that Boone hooked his phone on his uniform and livestreamed Hall's beating for Ditto. The hour-long video wasn't saved, but prosecutors say Ditto's messages back and forth with Boone prove that she watched what happened — and that Boone was involved. Afterward, Ditto wrote "That was SOOOOOO COOL!!!!"

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

June 9, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation