Former Cop Pleads Guilty to Beating Undercover Officer at Protest: 'Going Rogue Does Feel Good'

Former St. Louis, Missouri officer Randy Hays, 32, pleaded guilty to federal charges on Friday of using unreasonable and excessive force while beating an undercover colleague who was posing as a protester during a 2017 protest, says WTVI.

The officer in question, Undercover Officer Luther Hull, said he was beaten "like Rodney King" during the encounter, which took place in 2017. The beating was during protests held after the acquittal of Officer Jason Stockley, who was captured on dashcam video shooting and killing Anthony Lamar Smith. Weeks of protests followed the conviction. Hays said that he'd mistaken Hull for another protester, according to court testimony.

Hull's injuries—some permanent—were incurred after fleeing from officers firing pepper spray, pepper balls and bean-bag rounds. The injuries he suffered include inflamed jaw muscles and a cut on his lip, a tailbone injury and herniated discs in his neck that required surgery. His jaw injury makes it difficult to eat.

Three other officers took part in the beating or covering up the beating after the fact—Bailey Colletta, who admitted to lying to authorities to cover up the attack in September and pleaded guilty to perjury, and Dustin Boone and Christopher Myers, who face trial December 2. Boone, Myers and Hays were also charged with deprivation of Constitutional rights.

Hays said he'd kicked Hall in the face, beat him with a baton and shoved him down. Once Hall was on the ground, Hays beat him, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

"Wasn't just us," Hays texted after the incident. "I don't like the beating the hell outta a cop, but the department put him in that spot, he could've announced himself at any time. And he wasn't complying. The camera thing is just ignorant, nothing we all haven't done and if it was a protester it wouldn't be a problem at all."

Investigators captured messages which passed between the four officers who discussed the attack afterwards. According to the indictment, "[The accused officers] expressed disdain for the Stockley protesters and excitement about using unjustified force against them and going undetected while doing so."

Police
A former policeman has plead guilty to federal charges after beating an undercover colleague during a protest, causing him permanent injuries. Christopher Furlong/Getty

Colletta lied to a grand jury that Hull had been "brought to the ground very gently."

Hays in particular seemed eager to flout the rules, saying "going rogue does feel good," according to a text message captured by the FBI. He also told Boone to beware of cameras.

"So make sure you have an old white dude as a witness," Hays wrote.

The plea deal Hays accepted means he will face a maximum of ten years in prison, and that he must forfeit his law enforcement certification. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

Former Cop Pleads Guilty to Beating Undercover Officer at Protest: 'Going Rogue Does Feel Good' | U.S.