A federal judge sentenced Hays during a court appearance Tuesday in which he expressed being “greatly sorry” for his actions, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported.
“I am a good person, but I made a mistake,” he said.
Hays is the first of three officers involved in the attack to be sentenced. Another fellow former officer, Bailey Colletta, is expected to be sentenced Thursday. The sentences come at time when activists are demanding more police accountability and a reexamination of police interactions with communities of color.
The attack left Hall with herniated discs, a rotator cuff tear and a hole above his lip that required sutures, according to court records. He also suffered a bruised tailbone, a concussion and other injuries as a result of the violence.
Hall told the court in a written statement read by prosecutors that the experience has left him feeling withdrawn from the person he was before the attack.
“I feel the same helplessness I felt the night of the assault, as I laid on the ground being beaten in the head, neck, and torso,” he wrote, according to KSDK. “The days I can’t sleep, I lay in bed in the dark and all I hear is the sound of my camera impacting the ground and voices of people yelling commands at me.”
He has since been diagnosed with depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, and he takes medication to address the mental and physical harm caused by the beating.
An attorney for Hall told The Washington Post that Hall won’t comment or have his legal team comment until the criminal cases are over.
Hall and his partner had been following a group of people who were damaging buildings and reporting the activity to an intelligence center, according to the complaint filed in civil court. The upheaval followed the acquittal of a White officer, Jason Stockley, who shot and killed a Black man, Anthony Lamar Smith.
The mob split once law enforcement started firing beanbag rounds, brandishing batons and using chemicals on the crowd, court records state.
Hall continued to pursue the part of the group that caused damage but his chase ended when officers jumped out of a vehicle.
The undercover officer raised his arms up with a cellphone in one hand and a camera in the other, according to court documents.
As Hall complied with a command to get on the ground, he was picked up and slammed face-first into the pavement twice, causing blood to gush from his nose and lips, according to the civil complaint. He was then surrounded by officers who attacked him with batons, fists and boots, striking him in the head and body, court documents state.
Officers ordered Hall to put his hands behind his back even though they were standing on his arms, before placing zip ties on his wrists.
After Hall’s gear was searched and his camera battery thrown out by then-Officer Christopher Myers, he was further antagonized by Myers as he was shifting in pain, according to court records.
Myers hit Hall on the head and face with a shin guard, according to the civil complaint. Myers also smashed Hall’s cellphone with his baton, leading to a charge of destruction of evidence, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Hall remained cuffed for 10 minutes so he wouldn’t blow his cover to protesters before he was eventually recognized as an officer and treated by medics, court records state. His undercover partner that night, who is White, was arrested but not beaten.
He reported the beating to the assistant chief and then went to a triage center to seek additional medical attention, according to the civil complaint.
Officers involved in the attack were identified in a roll call the next day but remained on the force until the FBI obtained text messages exchanged between former officer Dustin Boone and Myers.
The text messages showed that the officers were excited to hurt protesters that day, with Boone texting that “it’s gonna be a lot of fun beating the hell out of these [expletives] once the sun goes down and nobody can tell us apart,” according to criminal court filings.
Boone was convicted in June by a jury for depriving Hall of his rights.
Hays’s sentencing was more lenient than the 10 years he could’ve faced, his attorney, Greg Smith, told The Post in an interview.
The sentence won’t be appealed since Hays pleaded guilty, he said.
“Randy only wanted to be a police officer. The idea that he’s lost his job and his freedom based on his actions as a police officer … it’s tough to get a handle on,” he said. “Luther Hall, he suffered some significant serious injuries. Those all weren’t at the hands of Randy. It’s a tough situation.”
The city agreed to settle Hall’s civil suit for $5 million in February. Attorneys in the civil case argued that race motivated the officers to beat Hall.
Hall said in his statement to the court that he has had three surgeries and multiple procedures in an attempt to relieve pain. He will probably need more, he said.
“The reality is I will live out the rest of my life in some degree of pain,” he said. “Because of the [conscious] decision of Randy Hays and Bailey Coletta my physical being, mental health and overall life will never be the same. The decision of these officers has altered my career, professional and personal life.”